Hand Puppet

About this object

History of use

Punch and July is a well-known puppetry tradition in England, UK. The first recorded show took place in London in 1662, but the tradition dates back to 16th century Italian commedia dell’arte and the character Punchinello. The performance is a series of skits full of humour, violent episodes, political satire, and puns, with audience participation encouraged. The main characters are Mr. Punch, his long-suffering wife Judy, their baby, and a host of set characters: the Policeman, the Devil, the Ghost, the Doctor, the Crocodile, Joey the Clown, Toby the Dog, etc. (from Shadow, Strings & Other Things, 2019).

Specific techniques

Brian Davey first draws a layout grid and outlines the contours of the puppet’s head on a block of lime (linden) wood. He then carves it out using a combination of electric band and hand saws. After sanding the puppet’s head by hand to a smooth and silky finish, Brian paints it with a primer and several layers of acrylic gesso before airbrushing on the pinkish flesh colour and adding red highlights. For other features such as the brows, eyes and mouth he uses a paintbrush and layer of acrylic paint.

Physical description

Baby puppet. Hand puppet of the Baby character, from a Punch and Judy puppet set. Head, hands and central body carved from wood. Visible wood components- head and hands- painted beige. Character has protruding ears, round cheeks and long button nose. Cheeks are rosy. Mouth is open and painted pink. Eyes are light blue circles with white dots in them. Baby has short red-orange strands of yarn for hair. Character is wearing a red polka-dotted dress and white bib, with lace-like trim. Dress has two rows of wavy blue trim along the bottom edge. Plain wood cylinder, that head is attached to, inside fabric body with rod attached to bottom. Metal ring along bottom edge of body opening. Operated by holding the rod inside of the puppet’s body.