Friday, November 22, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Magnificent Figural Etui of "Judy" and "The Baby," 19th C.

Ivory Etui
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Expertly carved ivory reveals a figure of Mrs. Punch, Judy, holding her beloved "Baby," who,  as tradition dictates, favors his father.  This nineteenth-century ivory object is an etui, a small case meant to hold items for personal grooming--on this instance, two toothpicks and two small blades meant for nail-grooming.  These are attached by tiny brass pins.  The pins which hold the implements in the etui match other pins which are visible on the outside of the case--Judy's eight brass bodice buttons.

Here, Judy and baby are left in relative peace without Mr. Punch to bother them.  Of course, we know that in the traditional puppet show, in teaching the baby to walk, Punch becomes frustrated and tosses the baby out of the window--as one does.  

During the Nineteenth Century, Punch & Judy characters were very popular subjects for a variety of items, but especially for objects meant for household and personal use.  

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