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Hunt the Slipper

  • Object:

    Illustration

  • Place of origin:

    London (Probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper

  • Museum number:

    RENIER.420

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

'Hunt the Slipper' is a parlour game for children. The game can be played by any number of children who, all but one, sit in a circle passing a slipper around the circle behind their backs. The child in the centre must discover who is holding the slipper. In one variation of the game, the children in the circle stop passing the slipper when the child in the centre has closed his or her eyes and counted to ten, and the child in the centre then tries to discern who is holding the slipper by analysing the children's facial expressions. In another variation of the game, the children in the circle continue passing the slipper behind their backs while the child in the centre looks for it.

'Hunt the Slipper' appears to have been particularly popular in the eighteenth century. In 1766, Oliver Goldsmith described the game in his novel, The Vicar of Wakefield, and by 1838 it was described as 'nearly out of fashion' in England. However, the game continued to be popular in the Victorian period alongside other typical parlour activities such as music, reading aloud and amateur theatricals. Other parlour games included Blind Man's Buff, Twirl the Teacher and My Lady's Toilet.

Physical description

Hand-coloured engraving on paper of a game, Hunt the Slipper. Children sit in a ring on the floor. One girl is trying to find the slipper; a boy passes the slipper behind his back to a girl sitting next to him. The interior is of a Regency room with festoon curtains, a rich carpet, and gilt mirrors on the wall. Two men and a woman sit by the fire on the left of the engraving and a woman holds a baby on a table on the right of the engraving. A doll and a doll's cradle lie on the floor in the foreground.

Place of Origin

London (Probably, made)

Date

ca. 1850 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'AR'
Initialled in pencil by Anne Renier on verso

Dimensions

Height: 180 mm Whole, Width: 294 mm Whole

Object history note

Engraved ca. 1850. Bequeathed to the V&A in 1970 by Anne and Fernand G. Renier as part of the Renier Collection.

Descriptive line

Hand-coloured engraving, 'Hunt the Slipper', ca. 1850.

Materials

Paper (fiber product); Printing ink; Watercolour

Techniques

Engraving (printing process); Hand-colouring

Subjects depicted

Women; Games; Girls; Boys; Regency; Children (people by age group); Play; Men; Toys (recreational artifacts); Interior views; Festoon curtains; Dolls; Wall mirrors; Slippers; Infants; Windows; Fireplaces

Categories

Illustration; Prints; Games

Production Type

Unique

Collection

National Art Library

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