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Sketch - George Speaight Punch & Judy Collection
  • George Speaight Punch & Judy Collection
    Lewis, Charles James, born 1830 - died 1892
  • Enlarge image

George Speaight Punch & Judy Collection

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1852 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lewis, Charles James, born 1830 - died 1892 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    watercolour on paper glued to a card

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the V&A in 2010.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Charles James Lewis RI (1830-1892) was a popular and prolific watercolour and oil painter who specialised in landscapes and rustic genre scenes featuring children and animals. He was born in Chelsea where he lived most of his life, and began exhibiting in 1853 at the Royal Academy. He went on to exhibit there regularly, as well as at the British Institute, the Society of British Artist, the New Watercolour Society, the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery. He was elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1882. This gouache watercolour sketch with acacia highlights was executed for a later oil painting measuring 74.3 by 120 centimetres, which was completed in 1858 and is in private hands. The detailed brushwork of the watercolour with highlights in acacia gum varnish, reflects Lewis's equal expertise as a painter in oils.

The viewpoint of the painting, although depicting a Punch and Judy booth of an itinerant showman with Mr. Punch visible and a drummer accompanying the performance, reveals that Lewis's real interest was not in the performance but in the audience and the minutiae of daily life in the countryside - such as the baby in the wheeled cart and the children peeping into the booth.

Physical description

A watercolour sketch depicting a Punch and Judy puppet booth outside a picturesque countryside cottage with a family gathered outside, a puppy in the foreground and children crouched at the back of the puppet booth.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (possibly, made)


1852 (painted)


Lewis, Charles James, born 1830 - died 1892 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

watercolour on paper glued to a card

Marks and inscriptions

probably a sketch for a painting by Charles James Lewis RI 'Punch in the Country' 1852
Inscribed in pen and ink beneath the image


Height: 32.5 cm, Width: 41.6 cm, Height: 38.1 cm Total with mount, Width: 53.3 cm Total with mount

Descriptive line

A Punch and Judy show in the countryside given by an itinerant Punchman, with the audience and the drummer and bottler. Sketch for an oil painting completed in 1858. Charles James Lewis (1830-1992) Watercolour, 1852. George Speaight Punch & Judy Collection.



Subjects depicted

Cottage; Drummer; Hollyhocks; Children


Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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