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The Whimsical Walker (1851-1934), who wore this costume in the 1920s, worked as a clown in both circus and pantomime. Born Thomas Walker, he first appeared in 1865 and subsequently worked in England and America. In 1886, he appeared by royal command before Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Walker's act was popular with generations of children. In 1928 Dame Laura Knight recorded his appearance in her oil painting, The Whimsical Walker and His Buffer, which shows him in this costume with his circus dog or 'buffer'. The artist and performer met and made friends in the 1920s when Walker was working at Olympia for Bertram Mills' and Carmo's circuses. Walker's props were those of the traditional clown: a string of sausages, a goose, and a red-hot poker. Clarksons made his wigs.
© Museum of London