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Soft monkey toy - Africa

Africa

  • Object:

    Soft monkey toy

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)
    Africa (The cloth used for the monkey's clothing could have been sent from Africa, made)

  • Date:

    1960s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Luck, Andolie (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    The monkeys are made from ladies stockings

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Richard Reddaway and Clare Reddaway, in memory of Michael Jay Reddaway

  • Museum number:

    B.173:1 to 5-2013

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Creativity Gallery, case 21 []

This soft monkey toy is called 'Africa' and he was made in England in the 1960s out of a pair of stockings. He is wearing a red knitted jumper, blue knitted trousers held up by an elastic belt, and a red and navy knitted cardigan.

Africa is part of a set of toy monkeys owned by two brothers in the 1960s. The toys were homemade by a live-in teacher who resided with the family while the boys were growing up. Accompanying the monkeys are three exercise books, written by the brothers, which contain information about an extensive imaginary monkey world that they created during their school holidays. The books have details about day to day life in monkey society, including political struggles, religious views, schooling and tests, cultural events, and the monkey justice system which featured fines and punishments for bad behaviour.

The books and the monkeys give a very unusual insight into the thoughts and concerns of teenage boys in the 1960s. The world they have created is complex in its political and moral structures, showing evidence of wider cultural influences. The books have captured the inner workings of imaginative play, something that is usually intangible and difficult to record, making the objects exciting and important records of modern childhood.

Physical description

The monkey toy has four long limb and a long tail made from brown nylon. He has two ears on the side of his head, two blue buttons for eyes, and pink stitching to resemble a mouth.

The monkey is wearing a red knitted jumper and blue knitted trousers, held up by a belt made from elastic. He is also wearing a red and navy knitted cardigan.

Place of Origin

England (made)
Africa (The cloth used for the monkey's clothing could have been sent from Africa, made)

Date

1960s (made)

Artist/maker

Luck, Andolie (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

The monkeys are made from ladies stockings

Dimensions

Height: 52 cm Monkey - head to tail, Length: 10.5 cm Jumper, Length: 20.5 cm Trousers, Length: 10 cm Cardigan

Object history note

The toy monkeys belonged to two bothers, Richard (b.1952) and Michael Jay (b.1956) Reddaway, who played with them throughout the 1960s.
The monkeys were home-made by Andolie Luck, a live-in teacher who resided with the Reddaway family in the 1960s. The monkeys are dressed in a variety of outfits made from different fabrics, some of which could have come from Africa, as Andolie had family living there.
Accompanying the monkeys are three exercise books that contain information about the lives of the monkeys. The books are entirely written by Richard and Michael Jay and record the identity and activities of their toys, providing a detailed account of the workings of the monkey society that the children had created. Monkey life involved things like political struggles, religion, school, tests and honours, entertainment and cultural events, and a justice system with fines and punishments.
The two brothers both attended boarding school in Cambridge, which meant that when they came home in the holidays the monkeys and books took up the majority of their time.

Descriptive line

'Africa', monkey toy wearing red and blue outfit, handmade, owned by Richard and Michael Jay Reddaway, British, 1960s

Production Note

These toys were home-made

Materials

Nylon; Wool; Elastic

Techniques

Knitting; Hand sewing

Categories

Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys; Soft toys

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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