|Drawing by George Scharf|
The British Museum
This sketch was drawn from life in the early Nineteenth Century. It depicts a Punch and Judy puppet show being watched in the street. The drawing is the work of George Scharf and does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of these street-side performances which are still performed to this day.
Punch and Judy "professors" still use the same kind of fit-ups (booths). In fact, I've seen some which were modeled on this drawing with its decorative figures of Mr. Punch and his wife and "Joey the Clown" who acts as something of a Master of Ceremonies and interpreter for the show. Even the misspelled sign is indicative of the joy of these wonderful shows. I think it's marvelous that three and a half centuries (to the day, today) after Punch and Judy was first recorded as being performed in Britain, that he's being kept alive. We need to do all that we can to ensure that this tradition remains strong and thriving for another three centuries and beyond.