Ringling Bros. Lion Tableau Wagon


Parades to celebrate the arrival of the circus to town in America featured highly decorated wagons carrying the circus band and artists along main thoroughfares to the big top circus tent, attracting patrons along the way. This “Lion Tableau” wagon was built by Sebastian Wagon Works of New York City in approximately 1880 for the Adam Forepaugh Circus.  A telescoping platform holding the figure of Saint George fighting a dragon was removed around 1889 and the lower portion was converted into a bandwagon. The wagon was purchased by the Ringling Bros. Circus in 1890 and used as the lead bandwagon in its street parade, pulled by an eight-horse team. Often referred to as the Lion and Mirror Bandwagon, it was retired in 1915. It was stored at the old Ringling Winter Quarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin, until 1927 when it was purchased by George W. Christy who in turn sold it to the Cole Bros. Circus in 1935. The wagon was eventually donated to Circus World Museum at Baraboo in 1961 where it was restored and remains on display today.

Last updated: December 14, 2012