A Fine Quality Early 20thC Ventriloquist's Dummy Attributed to Arthur Quisto


Origin: English
Period: Early 20th Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1905-20
Height: 21 inches
Width (Shoulder to Shoulder): 7.5 inches
Depth: 5 inches (maximum)

The Edwardian period dummy of high build quality, in a herringbone tweed suit with scarlet bow tie, the head with a thick shock of ginger curly 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 painted in a very light skin colour, the legs consist of black painted wooden shoes. The face is also in a light skin color with reddened cheeks; the lips are painted red, the eyebrows and eyelashes black, the glass eyes blue.

In superb overall original condition, there is only some small flaking to the paint on the chin. The costume for the dummy is of the highest tailored quality, and in excellent condition. The two buttons on the jacket are original as is the bow tie. The mouth mechanism is in good working order.

Arthur Quisto lived from 1882 to 1960. His real name was Edwin Simms. He was known primarily for his Punch & Judy Shows, but Quisto also built figures for Tom Coram and Arthur Prince. He used pneumatic devices and was the first to use electromagnetic devices to animate his figures.

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.

Simply a superb example; more than likely from the stable of one of the finest dummy makers that the world has seen.