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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1940 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lanchester, Waldo Sullivan, born 1897 - died 1978 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved wood, paint, fabric and string

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Waldo Lanchester (1897-1978) was at the forefront of the British revival in popularity of the string puppet, and a leading player in the formative years of the British Puppet & Model Theatre Guild. He opened the London Marionette Theatre in Hammersmith in 1927, the first puppet company in the world to appear on television. From 1936 to 1949 he ran the Lanchester Marionette Theatre in Malvern with his wife, Muriel, appearing with his puppets at Buckingham Palace in 1938. George Bernard Shaw wrote the play Shakes v Shav especially for the Lanchester Marionettes to perform at the 1949 Malvern Festival. The company's repertoire included opera, ballet, drama and circus.

In 1951, Waldo & Muriel re-located to Stratford-Upon-Avon and established a shop specialising in puppets and puppetry-related items, notably the Lanchester-Lee marionettes in kit form, made from the specially developed new moulding material Leetex. Waldo was a fine craftsman with incredible attention to detail, and the author of the book Hand Puppets and String Puppets first published in 1937. His work featured in the documentary film The Creation of a Marionette produced by Douglas Fisher (1945).

Physical description

Marionette of an 18th century gentleman in carved and painted wood, wearing a black tricorne hat, a red cutaway frogged coat over a long cream satin waistcoat and a cream satin knee-breeches

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1940 (made)


Lanchester, Waldo Sullivan, born 1897 - died 1978 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved wood, paint, fabric and string


Height: 55 cm

Descriptive line

Marionette of an 18th century gentleman. Made by W.S. Lanchester. English, ca.1940


Wood; Paint; Cloth; String (fiber product)


Carving; Painting; Sewing


Entertainment & Leisure; Puppetry


Theatre and Performance Collection

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