Friday, April 19, 2013

Mr. Punch in the Arts: Punch’s Wedding Polka, 1850


Punch's Wedding Polka
Nineteenth Century
Metzler & Co.
The Victoria & Albert Museum

We all know that Mr. Punch is married to Judy. Leaving aside the fact that they’re puppets for a moment (a fact of which, historically, Mr. Punch seems aware), it is presumed that Punch and Judy enjoyed some sort of wedding celebration.

The British always love a Royal wedding (don’t we all?) and following the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, for several years the nation was crazy for wedding-related themes. This trend influenced numerous art forms, including music. So, it was only a matter of time before the popular Mr. Punch’s wedding would have been explored.

In the mid-Nineteenth Century, J.W. Cherry wrote “Punch's Wedding Polka” which was published by Metzler & Co. Here’s the sheet music cover for the song. It depicts Mr. Punch looking as much like a human person as possible as he marries a decidedly human woman (certainly not Judy, perhaps Pretty Polly) who looks suspiciously like Queen Victoria.

It’s quite dear and odd and I love it. This cover is part of the massive collection of Punch-related materials amassed by the great George Speaight throughout his long lifetime.

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