An Early 20thC Cased Ventriloquist Dummy Attributed to Herbert Brighton c.1920-30

Origin: English
Period: Early 20th Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920-30
Height: 35”
Width: 12”
Depth: 6.5” (all at extremities)

The early twentieth century vent dummy of a boy, in a white shirt, navy wool school blazer with monogram badge and with patterned bow-tie, the head with applied ginger hair and the body constructed of a combination of paper maché, and plaster composition parts with lower limbs with fabric attachments with the wooden carved hands (re?)painted in a very light skin colour, the legs consist of black painted shoes and herringbone tweed trousers, the face is also in a light skin colour with highly tinted cheeks; the thin set lips are painted red, the eyebrows black, the glass eyes blue, with two working mechanisms being the drop jaw and right wink movements, the whole presented in the original carrying suitcase.

In fair to good original condition, there is only some small flaking and craquelure to the paint on the forehead but nothing that isn’t commensurate with age. The hair is a bit tatty and slightly loose in places, especially to the rear, as photographed. The costume for the dummy is in good, original order but tired. The newspaper lining in the suitcase is from 1962.

Herbert Brighton, who used to perform under the name Benson Grey, lived in Pitsea in Essex and died in around 1960.

The uncanny nature of ventriloquist’s dummies has enthralled and spooked people for decades, and they continue to feature in horror films to this day. The idea of the ghost in the inanimate object is not a new one, Freud has written at length on the subject in his discussions on the uncanny, and ghost stories have featured dolls and portraits coming to life for centuries.

A true antique vent figure, always being so high in demand, and in its original case he proves to be an exciting untouched find.