Completed between 1883 and 1885, this painting is known as The Sporting Ladies and also as The Circus Lover from a series called Women Of Paris.

As with several images of the circus by Tissot, and many other works as well, the painter has created a number of distinct spaces that draw us into the scene progressively — the space occupied by the gentleman leaning in towards the ladies, with the unseen part of his figure seeming to occupy our, the viewers’ space, into which the central female is peering, the space of the seated ladies, the space of the circus ring, and the space of the background seats.

The space of the circus ring is further articulated into the aerial space of the trapeze artists and the space of the clown in the sawdust and there is, as a kind of punctuation, a glimpse in the distant background of a lighted foyer opening on to the highest rung of seats.

The elegant calculation of the composition makes for a very dynamic and seductive image.