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Ventriloquist's figure
  • Ventriloquist's figure
    Quisto, Arthur, born 1882 - died 1960
  • Enlarge image

Ventriloquist's figure

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1929 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Quisto, Arthur, born 1882 - died 1960 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved wood torso with painted moulded papier mâché face, hands and feet; sewn linen trimmed with braid. Suspected use of human hair.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Geoffrey Warner

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Tiny was one of two ventriloquist's dolls used by the semi-professional ventriloquist Ronald Warner (1910-2004), bought by him from Davenport's shop in the late 1920s and made by the vent-doll maker Herbert Brighton (d.1960). The painted eyelashes and pink lines around the ears with central red dots are characteristic of figures by Herbert Brighton. He was used by Ronald Warner at a concert on 27th May 1930 at the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh, when Warner was a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve officer, throughout the 1930s, and after Warner completed officer training for the navy at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire. When Warner was a naval officer during the Second World War he made what he called: 'typical and topical performances' as a ventriloquist when ashore, and according to a theatre programme, Tiny was certainly used in a Malta Relief Fund concert in Port Said, some time around 1942. When he appeared at the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh, on 27th May 1945 at a Victory Variety Concert, Ronald Warner was on the bill as 'Sub-Lieut. Ronald Warner RN., the Navy's Edgar Bergen' - a reference to the successful contemporary American ventriloquist.

Ron Warner made his last appearance with Tiny at the Garrison Theatre, Edinburgh, during the week of the 11th November 1945, in a Variety Concert with the Calder Girls, Speciality Dancers; Philip Malcolm, Baritone; Ella Haston, Vocalist; George McCormick, Tenor; Cable and Carr, Scots Comedy Duo; and Dick Telfer at the organ.

Ronald Warner was influenced in the act by that of the respected ventriloquist Arthur Prince (1881-1948) whom he met after seeing him perform at the Croydon Empire with his sailor doll Jim.

Physical description

Ventriloquist's figure known as 'Tiny', wearing a dark blue sailor suit. With movable jaws and eyes and papier-mâché face, hands and feet.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca.1929 (made)


Quisto, Arthur, born 1882 - died 1960 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved wood torso with painted moulded papier mâché face, hands and feet; sewn linen trimmed with braid. Suspected use of human hair.


Length: 76 cm top of head to sole of boots, Width: 34 cm shoulder to shoulder

Object history note

Used by the semi-professional ventriloquist Sub-Lieutenant Ronald Warner in his act and given to the museum by his son.

Descriptive line

Ventriloquist's vent doll or dummy 'Tiny', dressed as a sailor, ca.1920. Made by Herbert Brighton (d.1960) and used in his act by Ronald Warner (1910-2004). Given by Geoffrey Warner


Wood; Papier-mâché; Velvet; Burlap; Paint; Brass (alloy); Human hair


Hand carving; Moulding; Hand sewing; Casting


Entertainment & Leisure; Dolls & Toys; Ventriloquism


Theatre and Performance Collection

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