Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted wood with sewn fabric.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Patric Judge in memory of his grandfather Will Judge (1883-1960).

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This Punch is one of a set of figures used in his Punch and Judy show by Will Judge (1882-1960), billed variously as 'the Norfolk Comedian' and 'Refined Comedian and Patterer'. Although he performed all over the British isles, he was best known in East Anglia and the North of England. He played Dame in pantomime and married Gertrude Orchard, who played Principal Boy. The figures were a gift from his son, along with an archive relating to Will Judge's career, although it contains no reference to him working as a Punch and Judy man.

Mr Punch was first recorded in England in 1662 by the famous diarist 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. Pepys brought his wife to see the show two weeks later and that October the same show was performed at Whitehall for the King.

Mr Punch has had a cone-shaped hat for a long time. A 17th-century ballad referred to his conical hat, his amorous character, and to someone who: 'kissed like Punchinello or a sucking pig.' He also had his characteristically squeaky voice for hundreds of years, and directions for a 17th-century play note that a character should 'speak in Punchinello's voice'. An account of a performance by Punch and the Devil in 1699 noted that their dialogue was: 'conveyed to the ears of the listening rabble through a tin squeaker, which was thought by some of 'em as a great piece of conjuration as was ever performed by Dr. Faustus'. This is a reference to the Italian 'pivetta' which contemporary Punchmen call a 'swazzle'.

Physical description

Glove puppet of Mr. Punch with a carved, painted wooden face with black painted eyes, rabbit fur hair, and carved wooden hands and forearms, and wooden calf sections of his legs, painted white to simulate stockings with painted black clocks decorating the outside of each, and painted black shoes. He wears a yellow silk conical hat with red bias binding trim, a yellow silk tunic and breeches, the silk shot under the arms and on the chest area. His hat, ruff, hump, jacket and trousers are decorated with a purple, emerald and rose embroidered trim with a triangular repeating edge.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca.1900 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted wood with sewn fabric.


Height: 55.0 cm Maximum height, Width: 27.0 cm Maximum width, arms outstretched., Depth: 18.0 cm Maximum depth

Object history note

This is one of a set of Punch & Judy figures donated by the grandson of the 'Norfolk Comedian' Will Judge (1883-1960), also known as the 'Refined Comedian and Patterer'. His grandson did not know when his grandfather acquired the set, or performed with them.

Descriptive line

Glove puppet of Mr. Punch used by Will Judge (1883-1960), known as 'the Norfolk Comedian'. Mr. Punch wears a yellow silk tunic, breeches and hat, all with an emerald green, pink and purple trim. Part of a set of figures for a Punch and Judy show. Unknown maker, early 20th century. Given by Patric Judge.




Entertainment & Leisure; Children & Childhood


Theatre and Performance Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.