The fantastic costumes of Carnival’s Golden Age (1870-1930) depicted themes drawn from mythology, epic literature, history, nature, and whimsy. Beginning with the first tableaux and pageant balls of the Twelfth Night Revelers, Rex, and the Knights of Momus, Golden Age costume design was a tremendous spectacle of whimsy, mythology, and satire. Costumes included an extraordinary array of creatures: demons, fairies, magicians, animals and vegetables real and imagined, and a host of others.
Many of the artists and designers who created the fabled pageants have remained obscure or unknown, their tremendous body of work largely forgotten. Presented in this collection are stunning examples of original costume designs as rendered in watercolor and lithographs—most of them reproduced here for the first time, including some whose artists were, until now, unknown.