This marionette appeared in Tricks with Strings, a performance on the 29th April 2018 as part of the V&A Performance Festival. The puppeteers included Ronnie Le Drew, Susan Dacre, Keith Frederick, Siân Kidd, and Eti Meacock. The performance was directed by Rachel Warr.
This marionette appeared in The Victorian Puppet Music Hall Show, a performance on the 28th April 2019 as part of the V&A Performance Festival. The puppeteers were Ronnie Le Drew, Susan Dacre, Keith Frederick, Siân Kidd, and Vicki Holden. Music was played by Jake Rodrigues, and the performance was directed by Rachel Warr.
Carved wooden marionette from the Tiller troupe representing the character Tim Bobbin, or Yorkshire Bob. Made by the Tiller family circa 1870 to 1890.
This is one of 35 marionettes from the Tiller-Clowes troupe, one of the last Victorian marionette troupes in England. Marionette shows were a popular form of entertainment for adults in the 19th century, many of them family concerns which travelled around the country long before the advent of film and television, presenting shortened versions of London's latest popular entertainment from melodramas and pantomimes to minstrel shows and music hall. In the 18th and early 19th centuries their theatres were relatively makeshift, but after about 1860 many became quite elaborate, with walls constructed from wooden shutters, seating made from tiered planks of wood, and canvas roofs.
The figures were carved, painted, dressed and performed by members of the company. This is Tim Bobbin, the slow-witted Lancashire country bumpkin who, despite his stupidity, often displayed native cunning. The original Tim Bobbin appeared in a book written by John Collier in the mid-18th century. By the middle of the 19th century he regularly featured in marionette troupes and their plays.
Carved wooden marionette; a country yokel or Tim Bobbin (Yorkshire Bob) figure with a florid pink-painted rather flat face and a deeply carved mouth with two teeth, with carved hair painted brown. His eyes have painted blue pupils flecked with white and he wears light black hand-stitched wool trousers with a slight stripe, suggesting cord, tied below the knees with white cotton tape. The trousers have a brown cotton edge at the top for drawstring; and he wears an ochre scarf, possibly rayon ca.1950s, and a white cotton smock with hand smocking suggesting that this was an original garment.
His right hand is shaped to hold a prop while his right hand is open for gesture. He has a solidly stuffed calico body and an oval wooden yoke (with hollow to take the neck joint) and pelvis. The legs are attached by leather loops, and the upper leg enters into the shaped part of the lower leg. There are large staples set in slots for the ankle joints.
Control bars. There is a string to the backside, not between the shoulders.