Toy Owl

1852-1933 (made), 1900 - 1920 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This owl made of a pine cone and wire is one of a collection of small animals made of found objects. The set of thirty small playthings was donated to the Museum by Edward Lovett in the early 1920s.

Lovett (1852 - 1933) was a keen amateur anthropologist, antiquarian and folklorist who amassed huge and diverse collections during decades spent researching the history and culture of Britain. The quirky objects held at the Museum of Childhood display the ingenuity and resourcefulness that attracted him to traditional crafts.

In his articles and lectures about toys, Lovett postulated that these types of objects were the only form of toy available to working class children in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1924, he recalled: "no toyshops, as we know them now, then existed. The toys of that period were sold in small shops, mainly presided over by old women, who in addition to toys sold tapes and buttons, cheap pastry and sweets.”

During the First World War an exhibition of Lovett's collections toured London galleries, and he included this set of animals made of shells, bones, seeds and pinecones so "children may learn how to make their own toys". Lovett believed passionately in the idea of a ‘Children’s Museum’, and wanted his collection of toys to be displayed for ‘amusement’ and ‘instruction’.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Brief Description
Owl made from natural materials, British, 19th century
Physical Description
Brown and white head and yellow painted feet made of composition material, attached using wire to an unpainted pine cone.
Dimensions
  • Height: 7.5cm
  • Width: 6cm
Production typeUnique
Credit line
Given by Edward Lovett
Object history
This is one of a group of toys made from natural materials (Misc 186 - 203-1923) given by Mr Edward Lovett of 13, Godstone Road, Caterham Valley, Surrey on 20th December 1923.
Summary
This owl made of a pine cone and wire is one of a collection of small animals made of found objects. The set of thirty small playthings was donated to the Museum by Edward Lovett in the early 1920s.



Lovett (1852 - 1933) was a keen amateur anthropologist, antiquarian and folklorist who amassed huge and diverse collections during decades spent researching the history and culture of Britain. The quirky objects held at the Museum of Childhood display the ingenuity and resourcefulness that attracted him to traditional crafts.



In his articles and lectures about toys, Lovett postulated that these types of objects were the only form of toy available to working class children in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1924, he recalled: "no toyshops, as we know them now, then existed. The toys of that period were sold in small shops, mainly presided over by old women, who in addition to toys sold tapes and buttons, cheap pastry and sweets.”



During the First World War an exhibition of Lovett's collections toured London galleries, and he included this set of animals made of shells, bones, seeds and pinecones so "children may learn how to make their own toys". Lovett believed passionately in the idea of a ‘Children’s Museum’, and wanted his collection of toys to be displayed for ‘amusement’ and ‘instruction’.

Collection
Accession Number
MISC.200-1923

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record createdApril 22, 2004
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