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Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996
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The engraved image on this card ticket appears to be that of a ventriloquist sitting with his vent doll on his left knee, about to drink a glass of water, a trick that ventriloquists perform today to display their mastery of their technique.
Ventriloquism became a popular theatrical entertainment in London after 1796 when the ventriloquist Joseph Askins, born Thomas Haskey in Walsall in 1771, made a name for himself performing at Sadler's Wells Theatre. Ventriloquism continued to be a draw at places of entertainment during the 19th century with performers including Mr. Love, or William Edward Love (1806-1867) whose book: Memoirs and anecdotes of Mr. Love, the celebrated ventriloquist : to which is added, an explanation of the phenomena of ventriloquy was published in 1831 and whose performances in London in the 1850s erroneoudsly dubbed him 'the First Dramatic Ventriloquist in Europe.' By 1886 the comedian Fred Russell, known as 'the father of modern ventriloquism' made a hit at London's Palace Theatre with his vent doll Coster Joe.
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Marks and inscriptions
'Box C. Mathews'
Height: 11.4 cm sheet, Width: 7.6 cm sheet
Box ticket for Charles Mathews (1776-1830) probably for performance featuring ventriloquism, no date but ca.1800-1830
Entertainment & Leisure; Printed pages & sheets; Ventriloquism
Theatre and Performance Collection