LaRC is very pleased to report that we have completed our two-year project to place online more than 5,500 original float and costume designs from the “Golden Age of Carnival.” You can view the collection here.
The bulk of LaRC’s online collection includes designs from Comus (1882-1975) and Proteus (1882-1939). The collection also includes designs from Momus (1902-1913), and Rex (1912-1914). The designs also reveal the work of Carnival’s most notable designers, including Charles Briton, Jennie Wilde, Carlotta Bonnecaze, and Bror Anders Wikstrom.
The project has three purposes: to make Carnival designs easily available to students and scholars around the world; to reveal the true artistry and beauty behind Carnival in New Orleans; and to digitally preserve these international treasures. Library staff made high-quality scans using the latest archival-grade equipment and digital preservation standards. Master files are stored on an off-campus server which is backed up daily to servers out of state, helping ensure the permanent preservation of the digital files.
We wish to thank Howard-Tilton Memorial Library’s Web Services Department (led by David Comeaux) and intern Kathryn Rumer for their expertise and hard work. We also gratefully acknowledge support from Dr. Bruce Raeburn, Director of Special Collections, the Charles L. “Pie” Dufour Fund, and a grant from the Tulane University Office of the Provost.
The Art of Proteus On Display During the Carnival Season
In celebration of the successful completion of our online Carnival project, LaRC is exhibiting Proteus float and costume designs in our gallery. Included are costume designs from 1882, 1885, 1886, 1905, and 1907, and float designs from 1882, 1883, and 1885.
The designs are not only stunningly beautiful works of art in their own right but working drawings used by artisans, with pin holes where they were tacked to a wall or board while being used. Particularly interesting are hand-written notes on the designs indicating sizes, colors, and measurements.
This is a rare opportunity to view original artworks from the world’s largest Carnival design collection. The exhibit will be on display through May in room 205, Jones Hall, from 9-5 Monday – Friday and 9-1 Saturday mornings.
The Carnival digitization project reached a major milestone in July, 2011 when we completed placing our original Carnival float designs online six months ahead of schedule.
LaRC preserves more than 1,300 original Comus, Momus, Proteus, and Rex float designs from the “Golden Age” of Carnival. Included are works by noted designers such as Charles Briton, Jennie Wilde, Carlotta Bonencaze, and Bror Anders Wikstrom. Created as working drawings, these stunning artworks are used by scholars in many fields, including sociology, history, marketing, politics, and literature.
With our float designs now easily available to researchers from around the world, our next step is to place online our more than 3,000 original costume designs. Already available are the famous “Missing Links” costume designs from the 1873 Comus parade.