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Toy Theatre

A short history

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Scene 1: Judd street in London. Street Wings

Enter Alan Abanazar (Plate 1)

Alan Abanazar: This is the crisis of my fate! For many long years I have searched for the Magic Lamp, within whose tarnished frame resides the potent Genii. Let me lay my hands upon it and the Genii becomes my servant and all my wishes shall be granted. Power and wealth I crave and vengeance upon my enemies. First to disguise myself.

Exit Alan Abanazar and re-enter  Alan Abanazar in disguise


Now disguised as a pedlar, I shall pass through the town crying my wares. Perchance I shall thus lay hands upon the Magic Lamp. (Crying) New toy museums for old!

New toy museums for old!  


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Green's Script, 1855

Toy Theatre plays with a military theme were very popular, being that most toy theatre customers were boys.

This is the cover for Green's The Battle of Balaklava and Inkermann as performed at Astley's Royal Amphitheatre. Astley's Amphitheatre was a performance venue in London, opened by Philip Astley in 1773, considered to be the first modern circus ring.


The interior was designed with a proscenium stage surrounded by boxes and galleries for spectators, much like most theatres. But in front of the orchestra pit was a large circular enclosure (42ft in diameter) surrounded by a painted wooden barrier. This was used for entertainers, circus acts and equestrian dramas.


Live horses were used by Andrew Ducrow and his sons, who would perform while standing on the backs of white stallions cantering around the Amphitheatre.

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Wapping Old Stairs, 1838


Is a Toy Theatre play by J.K.Green pub1838 at Walworth Old Town, this play is in the popular toy theatre tradition of the Nautical Drama. Wapping Old Stairs are located off Wapping High Street, down a narrow passageway beside the Town of Ramsgate pub.

Named after the Kentish fisherfolk who once sold their wares here, the pub's cellars were once used to house prisoners before transportation to the colonies.


At low tide the stairs lead down to the Thames foreshore. Once the site used for the execution of pirates, smugglers and other nautical ne'er-do-wells. Until as late as 1830, malefactors were hanged or gibbeted in the Wapping waters until, famously, three tides had passed over their swollen bodies.

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Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, 1937

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At 73, Benjamin Pollock kept alive the old art of the cut-out and paste cardboard toy theatre, from 1877 until his death in 1937. R.L Stevenson wrote about the little shop in his essay "Penny Plain, Twopence Coloured" and distinguished visitors came from far and wide.

Latterly Pollock's daughters, Louisa and Selina, bravely carried on until they sold the stock and 1,300 original plates to Alan Keen, Robert Donat and Ralph Richardson. Then came the war and the shop suffered irreparable damage and was later demolished. The image left shows the shop before and after the war damage, small image above shows the remains of shopfront, now in the V&A Museum.

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W.G and H.J WEBB (Pub:1842-1933)

The Webbs were another family concern with son, Henry, following father, William, into the toy theatre business. Often overlooked and slightly overshadowed by the more famous Mr Pollock. Although there is speculation that they were in some way rivals, this is probably a toy theatre myth (one of many). Even though their shops were less than a mile apart, it is unlikely that they ever met.

R.L Stevenson famously quarreled with Webb, but by all accounts he was a quietly spoken, gentle mannered man, much like Mr Pollock. Webb was unusual in that he would do all the publishing tasks himself, drawing, etching, printing and colouring. His work has a  distinctive quality much sought after by collectors today. Although some of his printing is not as clean and consistent as Pollocks.

Webb also had famous customers, Winston Churchill as a boy would come to his shop to select his favorite plays. "He was a jolly impulsive lad," says Mr Webb, "and I shall never forget the way he would vault over my counter"


This is the title sheet for Mazeppa (the extra p was added for artistic effect)

Ivan Mazepa (1639-1709) was a significant figure in the history of Ukraine. He was caught having an affair with a noblewoman, who's  husband punished him by tying him naked to the back of a wild horse and setting it free. Lord Byron's poem about him was adapted into a hippodrama or horse drama and performed by Mr Ducrow at Astley's Royal Amphitheatre in London. In the title sheet above, although torn, we can see that it is published by Skelt late LLoyd's (he spelt his name with a double LL). This print is made directly from the metal plate and therefore to remove LLoyd's name would have been very difficult. So Skelt just had his name engraved into the plate in a similar style of type. This was,in fact, all above board, as Skelt had aquired LLoyd's plates legally. He had a knack for buying up other publishers stock, when they were going out of business.

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The immortal Skelt (Pub:1832-72)

The greatest toy theatre publishing family business was probably the Skelts, the Skelts were publishing from around 1832-1872 at Swan Street, Minories, London.

Ralph Thomas writes : "There were four Skelts. M ( I believe Mathew) first started. He took another into partnership, and their prints are published by M&M Skelt. Then one of the M's left and the prints once again appear published by M Skelt. The M took a B (Benjamin) into partnership and their prints are published by M&B Skelt. Later B alone published, but he, I presume , "bust up" like the explosion in "Miller and his Men", but then we have some salvage from the general wreck, published by E Skelt, without any address....E.Skelt is said to have died about 1890 in a good situation".


You need to be a bit of a detective to understand toy theatre history. Skelt's prints are said to express the essence and qualities of what made the toy theatre so popular. The earlier publishers like West and Hodgson may have obtained a higher quality of draughtmanship in their works. But 'Skeltery' embodies a quality of art which has a peculiar charm that is characteristically British.

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William West (Pub: 1810-54)

Poor Willy West has long since been gathered to his fathers and his printing plates have long since been broken up. But in his day he was the pre-eminent publisher of the Juvenile Drama. West was certainly a pioneer, prolific producer (with over 100 plays reproduced) and he engaged real artists for his productions. George Cruikshank and William Blake were employed by West, and were paid £2 for each plate of original drawings approved. Some of these drawings are in the British Museum Collection along with West's printed sheets. The earliest sheet in the British Museum  collection is "The Council of Ten or the Lake of the Grotto" dated July 30, 1811.

J.F Wilson gives a very unflattering description of West and his wife: "a couple of shrivelled-up creatures, having the apperance of octogenarian misers. They were always shabbily clad, although reputed to be well off, and seldom indulged in the luxury of a clean face. Their counters and shelves in the shop were crowded with old stock, covered with dust, and their only pleasure seemed to consist in petting a tame fox which was always with them, and drinking of Mother Trimby's best"

In case you are wondering, Mother Trimby was a buxom widow who kept the Duke of Wellington tavern in Dury Lane at which the poor hack writers, artists and printers of the district were wont to congregate. Such was life in late Georgian London.

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Conetta a.k.a G.Skelt


G. Skelt was not actually a member of the famous Skelt toy theatre publishing family, but was a Mr George Wood who later changed his name to George Conetta. He lived on the island of Jersey at Clearview Street, and produced work from 1899 to around 1956. He was by some accounts a scrap metal merchant who liked to dress in women's clothes and large straw hats. Very little is know about him but he must have been a brave and spirited soul and I celebrate him. He was also a skilled artist and draughtsman and made copies, in drawing ink, of Skelt, West and other publishers sheets. He also created a number of original large scenes for the toy theatre, but these were one- off scenes rather than part of a complete play.


He never published or distributed his work and most of his prints somehow ended up in Pollock's Toy Museum. Not quite sure how that happened. I don't know if he ever coloured the sheets himself but some of the colouring on his sheets is very skilled and pleasing. His work is not really valued by serious collectors of the toy theatre, possibly because he is a recent arrival or perhaps because they are copies, makes them somehow inferior. The exception to this is the novice toy theatre collector, who coming across a Conetta copy of a W.West sheet, thinks they have hit the jackpot. And somehow found an incredibly rare and valuable sheet printed by West in 1811 when it's actually a copy printed in 1911 by Conetta (To those in the know it's all in the quality, feel, look and even smell of the paper the image is printed on).


John Kilby Green (Pub: 1808-60)

The earliest proscenium in existence was printed by I.K Green in 1812, believed to be the same person as J.K Green, who later claimed to be the original inventor of "Juvenile Theatrical Prints". Having been around in the early days, Green then disappeared in 1814, only to  reappear in 1830, all guns blazing. He commenced production of the "Half-Penny" size plays, prior to this most plays were in a larger "Penny" size. With the introduction of the half penny size the toy theatre became more popular. Not only was it cheaper but more popular plays and pantomimes were produced. It really did become the most popular toy of it's day. It's popularity continued for another 25 years but changes to the real theatre and competition from different toys lead to it's decline. The beginning of the industrial age allowed manufactures to mass produce toys such as Zoetropes and Magic Lanterns. Redington had been Green's agent for many years and after Green died Redington aquired the bulk of Green's printing plates. These are the same plates that were until recently being used in Pollock's Toy Museum to print the toy theatre play sheets. The image opposite is the frontispiece for Green's Jack Sheppard,  a strong contender for being the longest toy theatre play ever produced. It runs to 64 sheets for the play and the script is 32 pages long. If you bought this play in plain form, the colouring of it, would take days but more likely weeks to complete.


In the toy theatre scene above published by Green, he has included a drawing of his agent, Redington's shop. The scene is No11 from the Pantomime Harlequin and Oliver Cromwell. Nothing like a bit of subtle advertising, showing your customers where to buy your wares.


Alan Keen and George Speaight (Pub:1944-52)


Alan Keen was an antiquarian book dealer who discovered an annotated copy of Hall's Chronicle, he believed that the annotations were made by Shakespeare. He was entrepreneurial and flamboyant, and had ambitious plans for reviving the toy theatre. One of his many innovations was the first true kit form toy theatre, one in wood with a bakelite proscenium, the other entirely made of thick card. He also had the simple idea of printing the characters and scenery onto thick card, so they could be cut straight out and used.

He produced a toy theatre play of Hamlet, based on Laurence Olivier's successful film, the characters are actual photographs of Laurence Olivier, Peter Cushing, Jean Simmons and the rest of the cast. But like a lot of toy theatre productions it proved almost impossible to perform on the toy stage. He also produced the short lived "Model Stage" magazine complete with abridged play and membership to the "Pollock's Toy Theatre Club".

The cost of all these innovations was never recouped as sales fell short of expectations. George Speaight was employed by Keen as his manager, but resigned after Keen failed to pay his wages. Speaight also wrote one of the definitive books on the history of the toy theatre, and was know for his enthusiastic, live toy theatre performances.

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Marguerite Fawdry (Pub: 1955-95)

Marguerite Fawdry bought up the bankrupt stock of Alan Keen's company, Benjamin Pollock's Ltd (the successor to Mr Pollock) She formed Pollock's Toy Theatres Ltd and carried on trading. She repackaged the existing stock of model theatres and plays as well as introducing a number of new ideas. One idea was to reprint the card theatre kits in book form which meant they avoided VAT. Peter Jackson redesigned the Victoria, Brittania and Regency theatres into this format which included the play and the script in one neat package. This was perfect for the tourist who could easily carry this home in their suitcase. The theatre in book form turned out to be a best seller (in toy theatre terms) and kept Pollock's in business.

She also used Green's original plates to have professionally printed, a number of complete plays, directly from the plates. But due to the deteriorated nature of the metal plates, these met with a limited market. She produced some new plays called, The Flying Saucerers and Massacre of Penny Plain. The idea was to try and update the themes of the toy theatre. Another innovation was to simplify the play scripts, scenery and characters into a form that was easier to perform, esp for children. The play scripts were also translated into French, German and Italian.

A short lived production was a large brightly coloured fold out theatre for the American market. 

Marguerite and her husband Kenneth wrote a number of books and booklets on toys and the toy theatre.


The print above is from the play Rob Roy, based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott. It has been printed directly from the metal (zinc) plate. Unfortunately in Alan Keen's ownership the plates were incorrectly stored. The plates should be coated in wax to protect them, if not the moisture in the air will corrode them. It is not possible to correct this damage in the printing process as the plate is in direct contact with the paper.



Right from the start plagiarism and outright theft was part and parcel of the toy theatre world, and not just in the play scripts. Green copied West and would pre-date his copy to make it look like West had copied him. Green's original plates bear his name etched or engraved into the metal, but were used by Redington and Pollock. Green's name would be replaced during the printing process and Pollock's or Redington's added. The final print would show the same image but with Redington's or Pollock's name and business address. This may seem odd now but it was standard practice at the time, made possible with the invention of Lithography.

But if you make a print today directly from one of Green's plates it would bear his name, so there is some small justice in the world.

As the century wore on the popularity of the toy theatre began to decline, leading to a decline in the quality of the printed sheets. Boy's periodicals began including toy theatre sheets and plays,  and publishers began offering "Penny" and "Half-Penny" Packets. Which consisted of a whole play printed onto one large fold out piece of paper. The quality of the paper was rough and the printing crude.

In the heyday a penny would have got you one high quality print from your favorite play, now you could buy the whole play for the same price. However the quality was not great and that is what kept Mr Pollock in business, he stuck with the old methods and despite the competition his customers appreciated it.

If it had not been for the war I think his shop would still be here to this day, tragically after a bomb blew out the front of his shop the local children stripped the interior and burnt it to keep warm.


It's a cruel, cold (temporarily warm) and indifferent world.

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Hodgson and Co, Orlando Hodgson

(Pub 1822-43)

The first real rivals to West, they started in the toy theatre business around 1822 in Newgate Street. They were only in the toy theatre business for a short time but managed to produce over seventy extremely well drawn and etched plays. There was an effort to make the plays more complete and more capable of being performed than West's ; for all their charm many of the early plays were incomplete and difficult to perform.

For some unknown reason Hodgson and Co gave up publishing in about 1830. The business was continued by Orlando Hodgson at a new address, 10 Cloth Fair, West Smithfield, until around 1843. He produced his own works including "The Siege of Troy" in 1833. Robert Cruickshank, George Cruickshank's elder brother has been credited as the artist responsible for the original drawings for this play.  George Speaight wrote "on the grounds of style the same artist should be given credit for the rest of  O.Hodgson's production".


He also considered O.Hodgson's plays the finest examples of the toy theatre ever produced, and this is hard to argue with if you are lucky enough to have seen one of his original prints. Pollock's Toy Theatres Ltd produced a beautiful limited edition facsimile of  O Hodgson's play "The Siege of Troy or The Giant Horse".

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As the nineteenth century ground on the English toy theatre began it's gradual decline into obscurity. This was not helped by competition from very grand, ready-built theatres imported from Germany. The firm primarily responsible for this was Gamages toy shop in Holborn. Their catalogue listed a number of colour models, without actually stating their origin (we would not want to upset the xenophobic customers now would we).

Unlike their English counterparts, the stages were ready-made , complete with cut out characters and prepared scenery. It was not only Germany but France, Denmark, Austria and Spain all had their own publishers of the toy theatre. In Germany the firms of J.C.Wincklemann, Adolf Engel of Berlin, Joseph Scholz of Mainz, J.F Schreiber of Esslingen and Schmit and Romer of Leipzig  were all producing toy theatre designs. In Germany, unlike in England where the publishers were all in London , the firms were in cities all over the country.

In France most of the output was produced by Imagerie Pellerin of Epinal. Their large scenes and fronts are spectacular but do not bear much relation to the real theatre. The history of the toy theatre (Dukketeater) in Denmark falls into four main periods : Pre-Jacobsen, Alfred Jacobsen, Theatres of the Illustrated Family Journal and the Pegasus Theatre of Carl Allers. In Austria, Matthias Trentsenky as a child witnessed the first performance of Mozart's Magic Flute, thirty years later he published his character and scene sheets for the toy theatre version of this opera. In Spain the history of the toy theatre is dominated by two Barcelona publishers, Seix and Barrel and Paluzie.

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The above image is a toy theatre proscenium published by Alfred Jacobsen (1880-1924) in Denmark. The proscenium together with the motto on the pediment, was based upon Copenhagen's Royal Theatre. The motto reads "El Blot til Lyst" which translates as "not only for pleasure" reflecting the power of the theatre to educate and improve as well as entertain.

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Outside Europe there was far less interest in the world of popular imagery and paper theatre. The American toy theatres that beagn to appear in the latter quater of the nineteenth century were intended solely as toys for children and as such bore no relation to the live theatre. Publishers in New York and Boston tended to copy English sheets or produce adaptations of well-know fairy tales.

The earliest known toy theatre publisher was Scott and Co of Fulton Street, New York,  they used the imprint: Seltz's American Boys' Theatre. The first sheets they printed included a warning about accepting inferior imitations :

"The plays of Seltz's American Boy's Theatre are the only miniature theatricals ever published, giving full directions for working etc.....Pub only by Scot and Co where everything connected with the plays can be had....BE SURE AND ASK FOR AND TAKE NONE BUT SELTZ'S EDITION".

In spite of their verbosity, the claims of such advertisments have not stood the test of time very well. Due to recent research which shows that the plays of Seltz's American Boy's Theatre were, in fact direct copies of those published by the Boys of England magazine a few years earlier.

Other American publishers include: McLoughlin Brothers of New York, J.H. Singer and Richard Schwarz also both based in New York. Toy theatre sheets also appeared in newspapers and magazines, such as the Baltimore Sunday Herald and The Delineator magazine published from the Butterwick Building in New York.

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The Triumph of Neptune

The plays of the toy theatre are based on real plays performed in the theatre. In a creative twist the Russian impressario Serge Diaghilev, was looking for a new typically English theme, as the subject of a ballet to be danced by his travelling company, the Ballet Russes.

He consulted the writer and poet Sacherverell Sitwell and together they visited Benjamin Pollock in Hoxton and H.J.Webb in Old Street. They spent several days going through the stock and then selected around 60 toy theatre scene sheets, which they were given permission to adapt as they wished.


Sitwell then set to work constructing a plot around the visual schemes suggested by the toy theatre sheets, while Lord Bernes was commissioned to compose the music for the score.

The Triumph of Neptune (or an English pantomime in twelve tableaux) recieved it's world premiere at the Lyceum in London on the 3 December 1926.


It is the only instance of a live stage production to be adapted from the miniature plays of the toy theatre. Discovering what toy theatre sheets were actually used is difficult as amazingly there are no photographs of the show as performed. Peter Baldwin did however have a good guess at what they may have been, Pollock's Sleeping Beauty and The Silver Palace being the main ones. The images shown are from these two plays.




Most toy theatre sheets were sold uncoloured and coloured by the purchaser at home. For twice the price you could obtain a sheet professionally coloured by the publisher. The publishers colouring possessed a theatricality, a bright and vivid sweep, that no amateur could hope to surpass. It is only in the coloured sheets that the Juvenile Drama attains it's full charm. How were the brilliant colours of the publishers sheets achieved?

Only three primary colours were used; carmine, gamboge and blue. From mixing these three colours, every possible shade could be obtained. The typical brilliant crimson, for instance, is produced by applying deep pink over strong yellow. These colours were not bought in an art supply shop, but specially mixed to old and secret formulas, and applied while still fresh. A great mystery was made of the colouring, and there were many rumours of secret ingredients that were added to obtain such bright hues: gum, sugar and even a few drops of beer. The actual ingredients were a closely guarded secret.


The amount of brushwork , too, is incredible; in the pantomime Baron Munchausen one of the scenes contains 122 separate pieces of colouring. And all this provided for an extra halfpenny. When competition between publishers intensified and cheapness became essential the colouring was done by stencils.


At one time Webb is said to have employed twelve families to colour his sheets, but at its height, there must have been hundreds of families employed.  In high attics and low basements, spending long days round the table with brush and paint, with tired fingers and straining eyes. Rewarded by a few shillings at the end of the week. Their sacrifice and toil resulted in the lovely coloured toy theatre sheets that we can still enjoy today.

Left: The Ogre Frosty Toes shows off some nice colouring.


R.L.Stevenson, again sums it up quite evocatively: "I cannot deny the joy attended the illumination..with crimson lake and prussian blue a certain purple to be compounded which, for cloaks especially, Titian could not equal. The latter colour with gamboge, a hated name although an exquisite pigment, supplied a green of such savoury greenness that today my heart regrets it."


Colouring in may seem like childs play but is a skill in itself, as the above image shows, a badly coloured toy theatre sheet is not a thing of beauty. The colours choosen, how they are applied and what colours work together are all factors to consider. If you ever try colouring a toy theatre sheet you will soon realise it's not as easy as it looks. In the past, the families employed to colour the sheets were given detailed instructions to follow in order to produce a consistent result.


Writers and the Toy Theatre

The writer most associated with the toy theatre is Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of an essay published in The Magazine of Art in 1884, entitled A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured.

But other writers have also, as chilldren (and adults) performed and written toy theatre plays.

Charles Dickens as a schoolboy with his friends- "mounted small theatres, and got up very gorgeous scenery to illustrate The Miller And His Men"

Dickens built a toy theatre with assistance from the stage designer Clarkson Stanfield upon which he performed a spectacular play " This was called The Elephant of Siam (pub:W.West) and its production on a proper scale of splendour necessitated the designing and painting of several new scenes, which resulted in such competition between my father and Stanfield that you would have thought that their very existence depended on the mounting of this same elephant..."

Charles Dodgson performed plays on a toy theatre at Croft Rectory: the future "Lewis Carroll" was thirteen years old at the time. The theatre that he performed on bore no resemblance to the traditional English type of toy theatre. But was much larger and the characters  were moved by wires from above, it was probably of German origin. The plays were all written by Charles Dodgson himself.


The playwright and artist Jack Yeats, brother of W.B Yeats, occupied long hours of his time preparing text and characters for entire plays. Yeats published and hand coloured a number of toy theatre plays and would also do Christmas performances for local children. Like R.L.Stevenson he especially liked the more  piratical plays.

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The Miller And His Men

Charles Dickens liked to perform this classic play, which is easily the most popular toy theatre play, with some publishers producing five versions of it. As well as the half-penny version there was a mini version, a one penny and even a large two penny version.

This famous "melo-drama" was first produced at Covent Garden Theatre in 1813. Special music was composed for the production by Bishop, and his airs are described as being "quaint and pleasant".

It is in the tradition of the romantic German school; it describes a prosperous miller in some rugged Bohemian valley, who grows so wealthy that he can buy up all the farms for miles around, and who has his eye on the daughter of one of his tenants.

In reality the miller is the leader of a gang of robbers who are terrorizing the area. The boyfriend of the tenant's daughter gains admission to the gang and discovers the ruse, the local count then arrives with soldiers to impose justice. The millers jealous mistress consigns him and his band to predition in a terrifying explosion. Despite the sound of the plot this is a jolly play full of disguises and with plenty of sword fights.

After the miller, in popularity,  there were a crop of Oriental plays like AladdinBlue Beard, The Forty Thieves and Timour the Tartar, one of Astley's equnine melodramas. Another popular horse piece was the Battle of Waterloo which outlived the more contemporary interest of several other battle plays.

Among the many nautical pieces the most popular were  The Red Rover  and Black Eyed Susan, a domestic piece that attained great sucess at the Surrey theatre with T.P. Cooke in the leading part as William.

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Oh no it's a bit about Pantomime

Toy theatre sheets give us an idea of what pantomime was like in the past. The pantomime of today is different to the kind of entertainment that reached it's height in the days of Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837)

The first pantomime was probably introduced to England around 1700. The arrival in London in 1717 of a troupe of French pantomimists with the additional attraction of performing dogs gave this kind of entertainment an impetus and the Grimaldi's, father and son, further developed and popularised it.


Pantomime owes much to and was a development of the Commedia dell' Arte of Italy, whence come it's characters of clown, pantaloon, harlequin and columbine.

Grimaldi, the greatest of all pantomime performers that the English stage has ever seen, and who figured so often in the toy theatre, perfected the pantomime and made it peculiarly British and national in character.

There are a great number of pantomimes published for the toy theatre ; Harlequin and Blue Beard, The Golden Fish, Mother Goose to mention just a few. In all these plays you will find pictured a procession of pantomime giants, "big-heads'. ogres and other fearful wild fowl of the time.


The old time Harlequin passed though many scenes, clown cracked his jests and performed his practical jokes in front of drop scenes that largely represented humble shopping thoroughfares. On the facias of these shops would be inscribed the names of the occupiers, embodying puns of an excruciating kind. ( I find them quite amusing esp G.Wild Spirit Merchant)

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Commedia dell 'arte

Commedia dell'arte (lit: 'comedy of the profession') was an early form of professional theatre, originating in Italy it was popular throughout Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries.

It was both scripted and improvised and always involved a joke (lazo) or something foolish or witty.

Another characteristic was mime or pantomime which was mostly used by the character Harlequin. In English theatre this type of performer is typically refered to as a mummer. Mummers plays are folk tales performed by troupes of amateur actors, known as mummers or guisers.

The characters of the commedia dell' arte usually represent fixed social types and stock characters, such as foolish old men, devious servants or military officers. Commedia evolved into various configurations across europe, and each country adapted the form to its liking.

For example English pantomime, which flourished in the 18th century, owes its genesis to the character types, harlequin, pantaloon, clown and columbine. The Punch and Judy puppet shows, popular to this day in England, owe their basis to the pulcinella mask that emerged in the Neapolitan version of the form.

Joseph Grimaldi expanded the role of the clown in the harlequinade that formed part of British pantomime, notably at the Theatre Royal, Dury Lane and Covent Garden.

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List of Toy Theatre Publishers

West, Green, Love

Jameson, Slee

Bailey and Co

Dyer, Fairburn

Hodgson and Co

Orlando Hodgson

Hook, Robert LLoyd

Straker, Frost

Lane, Park

Pitts, Redington

Skelt, Webb

Goodwin, Mathews

Pollock, Keen



List of Toy Theatre Plays

Aladdin, Alone in the Pirate's Liar, Battle of Alma, Blackbeard the Pirate, Black Eyed Susan, The Blind Boy, The Blood Red Knight, Blue Beard, The Bottle Imp, The Broken Sword, Captain Ross, Cherry and the Fair Star, Chevy Chase, Dred, The Elephant of Siam, The Falls of Clyde, The Flying Dutchman, Guy Fawkes, The Hag of the Lake, The haunted Tailor, The Hunter of the Alps, The Inchcape Bell, The Infernal Secret, Jacob Faithfull, King Arthur, Lodoiska, Magna Charta, Mazeppa, Napoleon, One o' Clock, Peter the Cruel, Pizarro, Rookwood, The Secret Mine, Sleeping Beauty, Three fingured Jack, Tom Cringle, Uncle Tom's Cabin,Valentine and Orson, Wapping Old Stairs, Zembucca.
Pantomimes:  Goody Goose, Harlequin and Blue Beard, Harlequin and Fancy, Harlequin and Humpo, Harlequin and Old Dame Trot, Harlequin and the Swans, Harlequin Brilliant, Harlequin Little King Pippin.
This is just a small selection of the many plays produced.

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