©Wellcome Library, London

Itinerants generally put on a show for their customers, erecting a stall or stage in the market-place and drawing crowds with some form of entertainment such as a dancing girl, music, or a performing monkey. Many claimed to come from faraway places like Turkey or, in the 19th century, the North American prairies. As a large number of purchases were made by men, an attractive female assistant was an additional attention-puller.

French colour stipple engraving by Bonnet after P. Caréme.