Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Art of Play: The Tiller-Clowes Columbine Marionette, 1870-90

Marionette from the Tiller-Clowes Troupe
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This beauty is one of the thirty-five  marionettes from the Tiller-Clowes troupe that was bequeathed to the V&A.  The troupe was one of the last Victorian marionette troupes in England.

The set of figures was carved, painted, dressed as a variety of characters, many of whom were based on stock characters from the Commedia dell’Arte. This female figure is dressed as a stock character who would appear in any plays which required a young heroine.  She was employed most frequently by the Tiller-Clowes troupe to represent Columbine.

Since this set of puppets was used well into the 1950’s, Columbine, like the others, has gone through a series of adaptations over time.  This figure was probably used as a dancer during the 1950s since we can see that eyelets for strings were added to the heels and to the back of the knee joints.  She is not strung for dancing now, having been restored to her original look—dating to her creation between 1870 and 1890.

No comments: