Little Tommy Tittlemouse thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Little Tommy Tittlemouse

Teddy Bear
ca. 1908 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This teddy bear's name is Little Tommy Tittlemouse, it was the much loved companion of the donor. After he donated the bear to the V&A in 1965, he sent a birthday card to his 'son' each year on 24 November, which was also his own birthday. This tradition only ended after Mr Gowan passed away in 1986. Others since took up the tradition and the museum has received many birthday cards for Tommy from all over the world.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Stuffed and sewn mohair plush, wool
Brief Description
Mohair plush teddy bear made in Germany about 1908
Physical Description
A small, fully jointed teddy bear made from mohair plush that is now quite worn, the internal stuffing appears to be wool. The bear has black shoe button eyes and well-defined claws made using woollen thread.
Dimensions
  • Height: 133mm
  • Width: 100mm
  • Depth: 95mm
Credit line
Given by Mr J. H. B. Gowan
Object history
Given to the museum in 1965 by James Gowan (1907-1986). Little Tommy Tittlemouse was most likely a gift for Gowan's first birthday, which was also on 24 November.



James Hyde Bowie Gowan (known as 'Poppy' to his grandchildren) was the eldest son of Sir Hyde Gowan and Lady Edna Gowan. Sir Hyde was Governor of the Central Provinces in India from 1933-1938. Sir and Lady Gowan had three sons: James, Christopher and Anthony. James was born in Nagpur, India where he spent the first seven years of his life. He then attended boarding school at Stanmore Park, then onto Rugby School.

Historical context
The name of this teddy bear seems to have been inspired by a simple nursery rhyme of unknown date and origin, the lyrics to which are:



Little Tommy Tittlemouse,

Lived in a little house,

He caught fishes,

In other men’s ditches




An alternative explanation could be that the bear's name was inspired by Beatrix Potter's story The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse, which was published in July 1910 when the donor would have been almost three years old.
Production
Reason For Production: Retail
Subjects depicted
Association
Summary
This teddy bear's name is Little Tommy Tittlemouse, it was the much loved companion of the donor. After he donated the bear to the V&A in 1965, he sent a birthday card to his 'son' each year on 24 November, which was also his own birthday. This tradition only ended after Mr Gowan passed away in 1986. Others since took up the tradition and the museum has received many birthday cards for Tommy from all over the world.
Collection
Accession Number
MISC.74-1965

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record createdOctober 27, 2003
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