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Handmade toy theater character set
1800. Set of twenty early nineteenth-century hand-drawn and hand-colored toy theater characters, mounted on wires. This set of characters is crafted in the tradition of the "penny plain, twopence colored" toy theaters sold at theaters throughout Europe in the nineteenth century. These ready-made kits would include all the parts for reproducing a pared-down version of a popular play, including a script, characters, backdrops, and prosceniums. Printed onto paperboard sheets, children or hobbyists could color, cut out, and assemble the set at home. This particular set was made to emulate these mass-produced toy theather kits. The characters are drawn in ink and hand-colored, some showing the original pencil sketches on the backs of the figures. Many come equipped with movable parts attached to wires. While the kits were specific to one particular play, this set includes a large cast of characters that could be used to act out a variety of stories. The cast includes soldiers, women engaged in household tasks like churning butter (complete with movable arms), beggars young and old, merchants, "mon jardinier" pushing a wheelbarrow, and a beautiful young noblewoman in gray. One two-figure piece depicts a quarreling couple: the wife attempts to hit her husband with a broom, while he brandishes a stool. The cast also includes two different Pierrot clown characters, all in white. One is much closer to the original Commedia dell'arte concept with overlong sleeves and a broad-brimmed hat, and the other is more like later whiteface clowns with an oversized ruff and a conical hat. Characters are stored on three sheets of Bois & C. paper, sandwiched in a marbled paper-covered portfolio with green ties, detached at the spine. A fine and unique set.
      [Bookseller: Bromer Booksellers]
Last Found On: 2015-12-13           Check availability:      Biblio    

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