Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Art of Play: Animal Hand Puppets from 1950

Animal Hand Puppets
English, 1950
Joy Laurey
The Museum of Childhood
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Children’s toys—to this day—often feature figures of animals. Farm animals are particularly popular subjects for toys. This made a lot of sense when many families still raised animals on their land as a source of food and income. These days, since most of us don’t lead agricultural lives, there’s more of a nostalgia-factor and cutesy feel to animal-themed toys which we often associate with early childhood. Such toys also serve as a means of teaching children about where the foods they eat come from and to educate them about words and their usage.

This set of cloth hand puppets made in England around 1950 is quite adorable. We have a horse, a lamb, a piggy and a cow. Each figure is highly stylized in the manner which was quite popular in the 1950’s. Though they were clearly well-loved they still retain much of their original detail and charm.

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