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  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    1820-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, paper, metal and fabric

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Moving Toys Gallery, case 13

During the 1820s and 1830s caricatures were commonly made representing people from all walks of life. This caricature of a peasant woman with a wide grin and a fleshy face decorates a jack-in-the-box toy. A wide range of jack-in-the-box figures like this were available in the Victorian era. Despite their frightening qualities such toys were not only cheap and popular, but also helped to provide children with their first awareness of basic scientific principles. More recently jack-in-the boxes have taken on a more welcoming look.

Physical description

This consists of a paper covered wooden box containing a caricature of a woman made of composition and cloth with a metal spring. The box has a wire hinged lid covered with brown, blue, cream and red marbled paper on both sides of lid, all sides and underneath. The lid is held down by a small metal hook and eye. On the outside of the lid is a light brown paper label with a scroll pattern around the edges. Printed in black script is: What wonder Miss/May be in this? Make me free and You'll see. Inside is the Jack-in-the-Box, mounted on a spring and dressed in blue and white cotton with a white cotton ruff. The head is moulded composition, showing a comic face of a woman with brown hair and a tan coloured bonnet. The hands, which are on the wrong arms are of carved wood painted pink.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


1820-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wood, paper, metal and fabric


Height: 8.4 cm, Width: 7.6 cm, Depth: 7.6 cm

Descriptive line

Jack-in-the-Box made in Germany between 1820-1850


Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys


Museum of Childhood

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