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Happy Birthday, Mr Punch

© V&A Museum of Childhood
Punch and Judy puppet booth, England 1912
As part of 'The Big Grin', a nationwide celebration of Mr Punch's 350th birthday, this exhibition includes photographs, puppets and ephemera related to the character whose first recorded sighting in England was made in 1662 in the diary of Samuel Pepys. On show are photographs by Tom Hunter of contemporary Punch Professors. Each portrait captures a Professor with their booth, illustrating individual approaches to the Punch and Judy tradition – including a father and daughter team. The show also includes historic prints, posters and puppets from the George Speaight Collection, on show for the first time since its acquisition by the V&A in 2011. A smaller display, 'That's the way to do it!', looks at Punch's theatrical origins as the sixteenth-century Italian character Pulcinella. There are also related activities and events.
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