# 25591

CODY, S. F. (Samuel Franklin) (1867-1913)

The Klondyke Nugget / by S. F. Cody

$950.00 AUD

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Belfast [Ireland] : David Allen & Sons, [1898]. Chromolithographed poster, 435 x 720 mm (sight); matted for framing; in fine condition.

A striking poster produced in Ireland around 1899 for S. F. Cody’s stage production The Klondyke Nugget

‘The Klondyke Nugget was a gory melodrama, written by and starring the Wild West showman S. F. Cody, set against the Klondike gold rush … This image was one of several pictorial advertisements used for the play … A large number of Australians are believed to have been attracted to the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899) in Canada’s Yukon Territory, although only several hundred actually made it to the goldfields.

Samuel Franklin Cody (1867-1913) was a cowboy, bronco buster, frontiersman, circus sharpshooter, horse track racer, showman, barnstormer, man-carrying kite inventor, and pioneer British aviator. He was born Samuel Franklin Cowdery, and took the name Samuel Franklin Cody as a young showman, pretending to be a relative of Buffalo Bill Cody, with whom he is sometimes confused. He was a flamboyant showman, initially touring the United States in a Wild West show where he was billed as “Captain Cody, King of the Cowboys”, and visiting England for a while around 1890. In 1897 he moved to England with his family and presented shows and events which involved horse racing against cyclists, performing chariot races and acting out scenes from the Wild West. His play ‘The Klondyke Nugget’, possibly inspired by a trip he claimed to have made to the region in the 1880s, was first performed in its entirety on December 5, 1898 and toured Britain extensively. It was described as a very successful and popular entertainment. His whole family were required to act and Cody usually played the villain – enjoying a very dramatic death at the close of the play.’ (National Library of Australia)

The poster shows Cody, in the role of George Exelby, at centre; on the left side are four figures including Lela Cody (his common law second wife) and a Native American on horseback; on the right is an angry mob wielding guns.