Italy, c. 1850
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This figurine was probably manufactured in the second half of the Nineteenth Century, and is one of a set representing various characters from the Italian the Commedia dell'Arte. The Doctor, or Dottore, was traditionally portrayed as a pompous scholar from Bologna, and was essentially an academic version of the greedy Pantalone. He spoke in a haughty manner peppered with malapropisms and gibberish. This stock character was adopted into the Punch & Judy tradition and remains a part of the mythology of Mr. Punch to this day.