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Maypole model

Maypole model

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1946-1984 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wynter, Susan, born 1923 - died 2013 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted wood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Susan Murray

  • Museum number:

    B.69-2014

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

British toymaker Susan Wynter (1923- 2013) started making objects from wood when she was eight years old. Growing up, she lived in London near a billiard table maker where she would use the wooden off-cuts and leftover green baize to create her own objects. As Susan grew older and had children, she began to design toys for the nursery, focusing on both function and education. Through this new approach to toymaking, Susan Wynter began to gain international fame, exhibiting at the London Design Centre, the Venice Biennale, and in various trade fairs in British Pavillions.

Her business, the Toy Trumpet, began as a small toy shop in St. Ives where Susan started designing and making high quality wooden toys. Through her toys Susan was keen to promote exploration through and also designed toys for children with special needs. These toys were then sold to stores like Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. In the late 1960s Susan moved the business to Essex and settled in Brightlingsea where she employed local people. The company grew exponentially, providing toys for major companies like James Galt and the Educational Supply Association.

The maypole a traditional ceremony performed throughout the world to welcome the spring season, is an event that has often been depicted in children's toys. The whimsical nature of this tradition is enhanced through Susan Wynter's ability to transform the complex into something simple. Here we see that the simplified figures and bright colours emphasize the theme of enjoyment and entertainment.

Physical description

Moving wooden maypole consisting of a round base that stands on a squared green pedestal. The round base has a middle hole surrounded by a red flower-like pattern, and it has three human figures mounted on it. The figures are stylized, and are attached to the base by pegs. The three of them have painted red caps, a pink face, black and white eyes and white bottoms. Two of the figures have been painted red, and the other has been painted yellow. There is a yellow rod in the middle that joins the base and pedestal together, where it is crowned by a red plastic sphere. Three red strings go from the bottom of the sphere to the edge of the base and make the maypole move in both directions. There is a sticker on the base that reads “Design Centre London”.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1946-1984 (made)

Artist/maker

Wynter, Susan, born 1923 - died 2013 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted wood

Dimensions

Width: 11 cm, Length: 11 cm, Height: 17 cm

Descriptive line

Maypole moving model, wood, made by Susan Wynter, England, 1946-1984

Materials

Wood; String; Paint

Techniques

Toy making; Technique; Painting

Subjects depicted

Maypole; Dancers; Dance

Categories

Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys; Dance

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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