Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mr. Punch in the Arts: "Punch and Paddy," Peace on Earth, c. 1820

The Victoria & Albert Museum

This engraving entitled, “Punch and Paddy” is inscribed, “Put away that thing, and let's have a Merry Christmas.”

Punch, clearly is addressing the Hangman who is traditionally called “Jack Ketch.” For some reason, here, he is referred to as “Paddy,” a name which must pre-date Jack’s within the confines of Punch’s story. Punch entreats his captor to put his musket away in the Christmas spirit—the epitome of “Peace on Earth.”

Punch, also is dressed atypically as he wears a yellow outfit and a green hat as opposed to his traditional crimson. We can see the gallows poking out on the right—showing Paddy’s intent to capture Punch and hang him. Punch, however, has other plans for Christmas.

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