Friday, October 8, 2010

Mr. Punch in the Arts: The George Speaight Punch & Judy Archive at The Victoria & Albert Museum

The George Speaight Punch & Judy Archive
Victoria & Albert Museum

In August of 2010, The Victoria & Albert Museum received a tremendous paper archive of historical Punch & Judy documents as a donation from the estate of George Speaight (1914-2005). Mr. Speaight, a distinguished historian and expert in the field of British entertainment, had, over his lifetime, amassed this important collection of objects, ephemera, iconography and artwork related to Punch & Judy which chronicles the development of Britain’s favorite puppet show over a four hundred year period from its Italian roots to its present glove-puppet form.

The Victoria & Albert Museum is currently cataloging the collection and will soon make it public in “The Reading Room” at Blythe House. Brimming with colorful and interesting images from Mr. Punch’s history, the archive features beautiful scenes such as this cheerful drawing of “The Theatre Royal.” Mr. Punch seems quite pleased to share the stage with a real, live dog, doesn’t he? For those of us who aren’t very close to Blythe House, the archive will also be available online.

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