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Marionette theatre

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1734 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, painted and gilded wood; metal; glass

  • Museum number:

    W.31 to Y-1924

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Moving Toys Gallery, case 1 []

Physical description

Marionette theatre, carved wood, painted white and gilded, with candle-brackets of gilt metal. On either side of the proscenium is a canvas door, painted with flowers, fruit and birds, and surmounted by a mirror, the glass of which is painted with a mythological figurine in white, on top is a coat of arms: per fesse, 1, the arms chapé of the Dominican Ender; 2, fusilly in bend sinister argent and gules; count's coronet.

There are two scenes, one represents an interior with painted wooden furniture (two tables and four chairs, painted red, and a harpsichord), and six puppets. The figures for this scene are: an old couple and a young couple, both richly dressed; a manservant and a gendarme. The other scene represents a piazza in Venice and has six Italian figures from the Commedia dell'arte: Scapin, Pantaloon, Columbine, the Captain, the Doctor and Harlequin. The curtains are blue and gold.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


ca. 1734 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, painted and gilded wood; metal; glass


Height: 397 cm theatre

Object history note

This object was stated to have come from the Palazzo Carminato, Venice, but on no very definite evidence. The coat of arms may possibly be that of the Salomoni family of Venice, but certainly not that of the Carminato family.

It was purchased by the Furniture and Woodwork Department in 1924 from F.C. Harper, Esq., for £250 [23/8512] and transferred to the Bethnal Green Museum in 1965 [RP 65/3119].

Descriptive line

A marionette theatre with puppets and props made in Italy about 1734


Wood; Metal


Carving; Gilding; Painting; Painting

Subjects depicted

Furniture; Figures; Theatres; Coats of arms


Entertainment & Leisure; Puppetry; Theatre

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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