Friday, May 16, 2014

Object of the Day: Mr. Punch and Pretty Polly Scraps

Click on image to climb inside those comfy wooden shoes, too.
Not really.  But, you'll get a bigger image.  

I found these two tucked into a pile of trade cards. They, I think, were once a part of a trade card themselves, but, now, they’re best called scraps. So, who have we here? Well, certainly the chap is Mr. Punch or, more accurately a child dressed as Mr. Punch. Who’s his companion? A girl, rather uncomfortably dressed in a Commedia dell’Arte-inspired costume. Sure, they could be Pulcinella and Columbine, but I prefer to think of them as Punch and Pretty Polly. 

Now, as children dressed in Venetian Carnival costume tend to do, they’re standing in wooden shoes and toasting one another with champagne. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s a sort of multi-cultural mishmash. It’s a little bit Dutch, a little Italian, a little French—and, typically American. 

So, what’s this all about? On the reverse—when you put the two shoes side by side—you seem the remnants of an old ink stamp, torn away by being glued into an album. It seems these two little folks were once part of a trade card advertising for a Newark, new Jersey-based toy shop. 

And, that explains a lot.

No comments: