A Scarce Early 20thC Cased Ventriloquist’s Dummy Attributed to Herbert Brighton

Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1915-30
Length: 33 inches
Width (Shoulder to Shoulder): 9 inches
(all approximate)

The early twentieth century female ‘drop jaw’ vent figure of high build quality in 100% original condition, with two operating mechanisms to animate the drop jaw and eyes, in a scarlet velvet dress with lace detailing and brass buttons, white gloves and ribbed stockings and leather flat shoes with floral rosettes, the head of long strawberry blonde hair and the body constructed of a combination of paper maché composition parts. The whole is presented in the original leather carrying suitcase trunk.

The figure is presented in as found condition, and she is rather tired. She requires a new glass eye and some attention to the mechanisms to make them fully operational, though they both work to an extent. She has the totally original costume, which is well made, and the case is also of the period. The hair needs to re-affixing but in general there's nothing here that can't be tended to.

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.

Female vent figures do not appear very often, and this is a nice early example with a very Victorian gothic charm.