Origin: English Period: Late Victorian Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1890 Example Measurements: Skeleton: 19.5” Long Dame: 12” Long Punch: 3” Deep Other measurements available on request
Used by a professional in the zeniths of the nineteenth century, the charming group of seven finger puppets each with hand carved and painted wooden faces, hands and feet, to tailored cotton clothing, to include Punch and Judy, hangman, constable, devil, skeleton and pretty polly (?), and to include one extra loose head, each surviving from Victorian England.
The condition of the puppets is generally fair to good, they remain original and un-meddled with; there are some losses to the extremities such as one of the devil horns, but there are no concerns about the stability of the wood and there are no signs of infestation. Some of the heads are a little loose from their fabric bodies. The clothing has general discoloration consummate with age but the colours still remain fairly vibrant.
With his dastardly grin and hooked nose, Mr Punch is the most famous puppet of all time. From roots in seventeenth century Italy, Punch and his chums were first seen in England when Charles II, came to the throne and more relaxed times resumed after the rule of Oliver Cromwell. Revelry was once more in fashion and the public's taste was all for amusement and novelty, paving the way for the clowning Mr Punch to cackle all the way into the twenty first century. Punch and Judy has a long and colourful history, much of the appeal, lying in the skill of the performer: part story teller, puppeteer and comedian, but essentially an entertainer.
These rare puppets could be used to entertain audiences once again, or displayed in a creative way, preserving and, delighting in, a wonderful folk art. They represent both the entertainer’s art form and folk art itself, in its truest and purest form, making for a spectacular celebration of the eccentricity of British visual culture.