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Cradle toy - Pairli Cradle Toy
  • Pairli Cradle Toy
    Vitali, Antonio, born 1909 - died 2008
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Pairli Cradle Toy

  • Object:

    Cradle toy

  • Place of origin:

    Switzerland (probably, manufactured)

  • Date:

    ca. 1955 (designed)
    ca. 1965 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vitali, Antonio, born 1909 - died 2008 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, polished and varnished wood (possibly cherry wood) with platted and dyed cord

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mary and Patrick Attenborough

  • Museum number:

    B.200-2009

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This object was originally designed in the 1950's by the designer and toymaker Antonio Vitali to be hung above a young child's cot. It can be used as a teether, but also waved about and banged and rattled together to entertain the child. It is typical of Vitali's toy designs, which are simple and stylised to encourage a child to use their imagination when playing with them. It has been designed first and foremost with the child in mind, made in a pleasing shape for a small hand to hold. It was produced and sold at a time when the importance of well-designed toys for a child's development was being increasingly appreciated.

It was sold by Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Ltd., who were known as pioneers and promoters of well-designed toys. It was bought from the Abbatt's toyshop in Wimpole Steet, London for his children by the donor's husband in the 1960's.

Physical description

Two polished wooden figures, each carved from single pieces of wood, attached to each other by a length of faded red cord wound several times around the middle of each figure and tied off in multiple knots. The figures are stylised, featureless, rounded male and female forms with flat bases. The male form has been shaped to suggest arms outstretched to the sides, formed by a rounded triangular shape immediately below the head. The female form has a rounded torso extenuated by a narrowed waist, below which the form flares gently to suggest a skirt. The wood has been polished to reveal its grain and indentations of children's teeth are visible on both figures. The cord is knotted in the middle, and is fraying at both ends.

Place of Origin

Switzerland (probably, manufactured)

Date

ca. 1955 (designed)
ca. 1965 (made)

Artist/maker

Vitali, Antonio, born 1909 - died 2008 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Carved, polished and varnished wood (possibly cherry wood) with platted and dyed cord

Dimensions

Height: 12.3 cm figure, Length: 48 cm cord between figures approx.

Object history note

This toy was designed and manufactured by Antonio Vitali. It was later sold by Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Ltd. as one of their range of toys. It was bought from the Abbatts' toy shop, at 94 Wimpole Street, London by the donors for their children in the mid-1960's.

Historical context note

Designed and sold to hang above a small child's cot. It can be bitten to help the child when teething, and it can be held, waved about and rattled together to entertain a small child. It is a good example of artist-designed and artist-produced toys, and also of the type of toy sold by Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Ltd, which focussed on selling well-designed and well-made toys. All aspects of its design have been influenced through consideration of, first and foremost, the needs of a child.

Descriptive line

Cradle toy and teether made of two carved and polished wooden figures tied together with cord made to hang above a small child's cot, designed by Antonio Vitali ca.1955, later sold by Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Ltd. as the Pairli Cradle Toy.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bill, Max, et al. Antonio Vitali. Spielzeugdesigner [Creator of Toys]. Erfurt, Germany : Weingarten, 1994. pp. 128-130, 176, ill. ISBN 3817010176
Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Ltd. catalogue, ca.1965.

Materials

Hardwood; Cord

Techniques

Carving; Polishing; Varnishing

Categories

Dolls & Toys; Children & Childhood

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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