Mr Punch thumbnail 1
Mr Punch thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Mr Punch

Paperweight
1873-1876 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This paperweight was produced by John Derbyshire in Salford, Manchester, where he operated from 1873 until 1876, specialising in pressed glass. Before the technique of glass pressing was perfected in the early 19th century, glass items were expensive because glass cutting and glass blowing were delicate and lengthy operations. By finding a way to press molten glass into moulds however, glass items were available at a reasonable price and this meant that working-class families could own practical but attractive glass objects such as paper-weights and candlesticks.

Mr Punch was first recorded in England in 1662 by Samuel Pepys when he saw him as a marionette, operated in Covent Garden by the Italian puppet showman Signor Bologna. Pulchinella, as he was then called, was presented within a tent, rather than in the type of booth we know today. Punch changed over the years from marionette to glove puppet. Until the late 18th century, when he settled into his own play, he was used as a character in various plays, but his personality and appearance remained much the same. He was always an anarchist, flouting authority, and became one of the nation's best-loved bad-tempered brutes, with a big nose, hump back and corpulent stomach. This paperweight shows him with his dog Toby by his side. He is holding his stick with which he beats everyone, including his wife, his baby and the policeman. Punch did not adopt the stick until the late 1700s when he became a glove puppet, making the manipulation of objects much easier for the operator. A companion piece to this shows Judy with her cat (S.214-1998).


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Glass, press moulded, partly sand-blasted
Brief Description
Figurine of Mr Punch with his dog Toby. Pressed glass by John Derbyshire, Salford, 1873-1876
Physical Description
Green pressed glass figurine of Mr Punch sitting in an arm chair, on an integral base. He holds his stick in his left hand and rests his right hand on his stomach. Toby the dog, wearing a neck ruff, sits at his left side.
Dimensions
  • Height: 18.0cm
  • Also circumference of base width: 11.6cm
  • Also circumference of base depth: 11.6cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Anchor mark with incorporated initials, JD (Raised mark on base)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Tom Howard
Production
John Derbyshire used the JD mark with an anchor between 1873 and 1876 when he traded as John Derbyshire, Regent Road Flint Glass Works, Salford.
Subject depicted
Literary ReferencePunch and Judy
Summary
This paperweight was produced by John Derbyshire in Salford, Manchester, where he operated from 1873 until 1876, specialising in pressed glass. Before the technique of glass pressing was perfected in the early 19th century, glass items were expensive because glass cutting and glass blowing were delicate and lengthy operations. By finding a way to press molten glass into moulds however, glass items were available at a reasonable price and this meant that working-class families could own practical but attractive glass objects such as paper-weights and candlesticks.



Mr Punch was first recorded in England in 1662 by Samuel Pepys when he saw him as a marionette, operated in Covent Garden by the Italian puppet showman Signor Bologna. Pulchinella, as he was then called, was presented within a tent, rather than in the type of booth we know today. Punch changed over the years from marionette to glove puppet. Until the late 18th century, when he settled into his own play, he was used as a character in various plays, but his personality and appearance remained much the same. He was always an anarchist, flouting authority, and became one of the nation's best-loved bad-tempered brutes, with a big nose, hump back and corpulent stomach. This paperweight shows him with his dog Toby by his side. He is holding his stick with which he beats everyone, including his wife, his baby and the policeman. Punch did not adopt the stick until the late 1700s when he became a glove puppet, making the manipulation of objects much easier for the operator. A companion piece to this shows Judy with her cat (S.214-1998).
Associated Object
S.214-1998 (Object)
Bibliographic Reference
English Pressed Glass 1830-1900 by Raymond Slack, pub. Barrie & Jenkins, London.
Collection
Accession Number
S.213-1998

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record createdDecember 15, 2005
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