Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Rocking bird toy

Rocking bird toy

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1988 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mann, Tony (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, metal and beads

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Moving Toys Gallery, case 3

Fisherman Balancing Toy, Rocking Bird are two “adult toys”, made in 1987/8, show Tony Mann’s love of Mexican and Japanese toys with his use of bright colours and preference for a rough finish. The fisherman sways precariously on his “river bank” when touched, while the comical bird attempts to catch the “fly” when his body is rocked to and fro.

Tony Mann was voted “Toymaker of the Year” by the British Toymakers’ Guild for both 1987 and 1988. He originally trained as an industrial designer and worked in this field for twenty years in both this country and Canada, (where he emigrated in 1962.) He later set up degree courses at the College of Art and Design in Nova Scotia where he still teaches one term a year. The rest of the year is devoted to toymaking, and , when in England, he is based at Chulmleigh, Devon.

Physical description

This toy is in the shape of a bird with a long neck, made from roughly carved wood and painted in various shades of blue and green with white and grey areas; and purple, cerise, orange and gold areas. Has an upturned wing nailed to each side of the body and two flat wood tulips, painted orange, yellow and pink protruding from the top of the bird's tail. The body is hooked on to a length of copper wire threaded with blue and pink wooden beads, which in turn rests inside a groove in two vertical wooden pieces (the bird's legs) on a flat purple painted wooden stand. The bottom beak is hinged and a purple wooden bead with two orange feathers and an insect hangs from a length of white thread attached to an L shaped piece of copper wire which protrudes from the bird's head. When the bird is gently pushed, the body rocks to and fro; the beak opens and closes attempting to catch the insect.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1988 (made)


Mann, Tony (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, metal and beads

Marks and inscriptions

Tony Mann '88 is handwritten in black ink on the base


Height: 47 cm, Width: 40.7 cm

Descriptive line

Rocking bird toy made by Tony Mann in England in 1988


Hand carved


Dolls & Toys

Production Type

Limited edition


Museum of Childhood

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.