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218 years ago, on this day in 1796, Pablo Fanque was born

218 years ago, on this day in 1796, Pablo Fanque was born

February 28, 2014

Pablo FanqueThere's actually some debate about when Pablo Fanque was actually born. The blue plaque that remembers him on All Saints Green in Norwich gives a birth date of 1810. Still, reports from his time of death refer to him as being 75 years old, so we'll stick with 1796 for now.

It's well worth reading his Wikipedia page, which also gives the earlier date. He led a fascinating life, although may have perhaps disappeared into the mists of time were it not for John Lennon buying an old poster advertising his circus in 1967.

According to newspaper reports, Pablo Fanque was a hugely skilled equestrian:

Mr. Pablo Fanque is an artiste of colour, and his steed ... we have not only never seen surpassed, but never equalled ... Mr. Pablo Fanque was the hit of the evening. The steed in question was Beda, the black mare that Fanque had bought from Batty. That the horse attracted so much attention was testament to Fanque's extraordinary horse training skills. 

The wood engraving above is taken from the Illustrated London News edition of March 20, 1847. It's nice, but of course I prefer the work of Andy English...




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