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Tinsel print - John Thomas-Haines as Brian de Bois-Guilbert in 'Ivanhoe'
  • John Thomas-Haines as Brian de Bois-Guilbert in 'Ivanhoe'
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John Thomas-Haines as Brian de Bois-Guilbert in 'Ivanhoe'

  • Object:

    Tinsel print

  • Date:

    19th Century (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    tinsel, paper and ink

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Tinsel prints were created from etched portraits of theatrical stars in popular roles they played on the London stage. They were hand-painted in watercolour and decorated with scraps of material and tinsel additions. They were popular during the first half of the 19th century and were considered an adult, rather than a child's hobby. By the 1830s it was possible to buy the tinsel, leather and feather ornaments to go each image.

This tinsel print shows John Thomas-Haines, a popular early 19th century writer-actor, in the role of Brian de Bois-Guilbert, in Ivanhoe.Bois-Guilbert was a Templar Knight; as a Norman in 12th Century England, he is characterised in the story as a deceitful and conniving villain.

Physical description

Tinsel print of an actor holding a shield in his left hand, with right arm outstretched holding an axe. In the background is a castle.


19th Century (made)

Materials and Techniques

tinsel, paper and ink


Height: 25.8 cm, Width: 20 cm

Descriptive line

Tinsel print of John Thomas Haines as Brian de Bois-Guilbert in Walter Scott's Ivanhoe

Labels and date

Tinsel prints and scraps

One of the earliest forms of souvenirs was the tinsel print. These were not ready made, but had to be painstakingly assembled by gluing punched metal shapes and bits of cloth on to an engraving of a celebrity or character.

Another popular pastime was compiling scrapbooks. Sheets could be bought featuring a series of characters to be collected and pasted in as keepsakes. [63 words]
Tinsel print showing John Thomas Haines as Brian de Bois in Ivanhoe
About 1830
Paper and metal
Museum no. S.2037-1986

Book with sheets of pieces for tinsel prints
Paper and metal
Given by M.W. Stone Esq.
Museum no. S.34-1981

Scrap for a Shakespeare character card: Richard III
Printed card
Given by British Theatre Museum Association
Museum no. S.63-2008 [March 2009 - March 2014]


Tinsel; Paper; Ink


Engraving (printing process)


Entertainment & Leisure

Production Type

Mass produced


Theatre and Performance Collection

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