The first recoded sighting in England of a Mr Punch puppet was made in 1662 in the diary of Samuel Pepys, he said he had enjoyed “an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that I ever saw…” This year the much loved character is celebrating his 350th Birthday. In Pepys’ day, Mr Punch was called Pulcinella but over the years he has evolved into a stick-wielding hand puppet who can be seen at British summer fayres and seaside resorts.
In celebration the V&A Museum of Childhood has commissioned an exhibition of photographic portraits by Tom Hunter of contemporary Punch practitioners – know as ‘Professors’ pictured with their booths. This is a must to visit during the summer holidays… all together now “That’s the way to do it!”
Happy Birthday, Mr Punch
V&A Museum of Childhood
14 July – 9 December
Opening times 10.00 to 17.45 daily
Admission is free