Friday, April 25, 2014

Unusual Artifacts: An Early Nineteenth-Century Wooden Puppet Head

Wooden Head of Mr. Punch
Victoria & Albert Museum
History of Puppetry in Britain

Of course, we know that Mr. Punch has been entertaining people in his various forms for centuries. Since his arrival in England, his appearance has remained fairly consistent despite minor nuances between puppets.

This wooden head, long detached from its cloth body, shows us an early Nineteenth-Century incarnation of our beloved Mr. Punch. With his hooked nose and chin, he looks very much like his many puppet brothers. The head was created for the Codman Family who were Punch & Judy Men for four generations. A cherished family heirloom, the head was presented to another great Punch Professor—Percy Press I—in 1946 as a gift from Richard Codman, Senior. With his bright eyes and knowing smile, this gleeful figure represents a proud puppet ancestry and serves as a model for his descendants.

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