THIS is the BEETLE with her thread and needle thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

THIS is the BEETLE with her thread and needle

Costume Design
ca.1860 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a design by Richard Wynn Keene or Dykwynkyn (1809-1887), for a character in an un-named pantomime, ca.1860, for a beetle wearing a mob cap and apron, inscribed 'This is the Beetle, with her thread and needle', a beetle standing on her back legs and manipulating a large needle with two front right legs into a lace-edged cloth she holds with her two front left legs. We do not know the pantomime in which this character featured, but it would have had a scene relating to the death of Cock Robin since the beetle is the character in the traditional nursery rhyme Who Killed Cock Robin?who offers to make a shroud for Cock Robin. In an article of 1867 the playwright T.W. Robertson described Dykwynkyn as 'the presiding genius of all theatrical Christmas revels.'

For his pantomime work Keene used the name Dykwynkyn which he characteristically signed on an artist's palette on the ground. He was also responsible for designs for a number of other lavish productions of the day, and for these he was billed as Mr. R.W. Keene.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Costume design for the Beetle with her Thread and Needle, a character in a pantomime, ca.1860. Pencil and watercolour by Dykwynkyn - Richard Wynn Keene (1809-1887).
Physical Description
Pencil and watercolour costume design on cream paper of a beetle wearing a mob cap and apron, inscribed 'This is the Beetle, with her thread and needle', showing her standing on her back legs and manipulating a large needle with her front and middle right legs into a lace-edged cloth that she holds with her front and middle left legs. She wears an apron and presumably a belt (unseen) from which is suspended a pair of scissors and a tape measure. Her back left leg stands on an artist's palette signed in ink: 'Dykwynkyn'.



With slight pencil sketch verso of a bewigged crow, apparently a Judge, standing in front of a goose.
Dimensions
  • Height: 28.0cm
  • Support sheet width: 18.0cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • THIS is the BEETLE with her thread and needle (In watercolour painted below the image.)
  • Dykwynkyn (Signed in pen and ink on the shape of an artist's palette on which the brick is standing.)
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is a design by Richard Wynn Keene or Dykwynkyn (1809-1887), for a character in an un-named pantomime, ca.1860, for a beetle wearing a mob cap and apron, inscribed 'This is the Beetle, with her thread and needle', a beetle standing on her back legs and manipulating a large needle with two front right legs into a lace-edged cloth she holds with her two front left legs. We do not know the pantomime in which this character featured, but it would have had a scene relating to the death of Cock Robin since the beetle is the character in the traditional nursery rhyme Who Killed Cock Robin?who offers to make a shroud for Cock Robin. In an article of 1867 the playwright T.W. Robertson described Dykwynkyn as 'the presiding genius of all theatrical Christmas revels.'



For his pantomime work Keene used the name Dykwynkyn which he characteristically signed on an artist's palette on the ground. He was also responsible for designs for a number of other lavish productions of the day, and for these he was billed as Mr. R.W. Keene.
Bibliographic Reference
The title inscribed on thie design is a quotation from the traditional nursery rhyme Who Killed Cock Robin:
Collection
Accession Number
S.250-2011

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record createdMay 24, 2011
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