Saturday, 3 December 2011

Punch AND Judy

People ask frequently about our "peculiar" name and an explanation is given on our website's homepage as follows:
(Sketch to the right was drawn a few years ago by our eldest Granddaughter, Kirsten.  Talented artist!)


"In 1991 Judy Hall commenced exhibiting at Craft Shows, demonstrating and selling the “IGOLOCHKOY” Russian Punchneedles – the ORIGINAL punchneedles used by the immigrants from the Ukraine. This was the ONLY product Judy sold, unlike the vast array of treasures she sells on her booths today. Hence the name "PUNCH WITH JUDY” was chosen as the business name. Judy is still fascinated by the versatility of punchneedle embroidery and continues to demonstrate and teach the art wherever she exhibits."
The photo shown here was taken at a show way back in the early 90's when crowds were so deep at every booth that it was difficult to get close to see what all the "fuss" was about.  Each State only had one show per year and remember how you would save up all year and never dare to miss it?
Yes, Shows, Booths and Punch with Judy have come a long way since then.
Why this little nostalgic trip?  It is nearly Christmas and as you are all thinking about "giving", I want to do some "asking".  I have a little collection of Punch AND Judy memorabilia but it is so very hard to find items in Antique Shops. So, I'm asking you that if you have any little item about that rascal Punch and his poor hard-done-by-wife Judy, (who was constantly being beaten by Mr. Punch's stick) that you may care to part with, then please know they'd be going to a caring, loving and appreciative recipient!
Here are a few in my collection......the first two are Postcards.  Do these bring back memories?  Yes?  So, you're over 50!

This one is a Money Box....    and here are my enamelled thimbles from the UK.
Note: She has ONE EYE watching him!
Another Money Box - you insert a coin in the plate held by the guy on the left, pull a lever, then Mr. Punch hits him with his stick because the money is dropped into the "bank". 
I also have two books and some Pewter Miniatures which I don't have a photo of but they are my most valuable possession.
Now I know many of you may not even have heard of the Punch and Judy Shows, but to many of us, it was part of our childhood years.  The Puppet Show at any fair or event was a MUST SEE!  I ask at every book shop in my travels for the possibility of any books about Punch and Judy and the young staff look right through me with a vague look!
Here is a Punch and Judy Puppet Show......
The character of  Punch” made his earliest appearance in the 14th century in Italy, in the Commedia del’Arte dramas, when he was Pulcinella.  Later, in France in the 16th century, he became Polichinelle, the “hunchbacked fool of French farce, and, in 17th century diaries and journals, he is seen in England as Punchinella, Mr. Punch, and finally, Punch. Punch and Judy shows reached their greatest popularity  in England in  street shows, fairs and small theatres during the 19th century.  Always a popular event at the British seaside during holiday time.  
It’s easy to see the appeal for children of the Punch and Judy shows – characters of all stripes, silly, nonsensical plots and dialogues, quaint, decorated, little stages. Often a live dog, Toby, sat in front of the stage with a ruff around his neck and a hat on. Punch, furthermore, could commit the most heinous of acts and get away with it! Throw the baby out of the window, whack his wife with a big stick, kill off the authorities that come to take him to jail, chase the ghost away, and, his greatest triumph, vanquish the devil himself, all with a merry grin. Pleased as Punch. There was very little in the way of plot that the street watchers had to follow - Punch must contend with a shrewish wife and a screaming baby so he murders them both and is then forced to defend himself from the law officials and do-gooders who try to get him to the gallows. Whether he succeeds in overcoming them is the suspense of the drama, though the fun is in watching how Punch dispatches them all. The variation in the dramas came from the talent of the puppeteers (called “Professors”) who brought the characters to life with their own humor and skill and sense of the outrageous.
http://www.wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

I hope you have enjoyed a trip down memory lane! 
Now, do you have any Punch and Judy items needing a new home?


  1. great story! and thanks for sharing your pictures :)

  2. Thank you Caroline, glad you enjoyed it. Shame that Punch and Judy Shows are not part of today's generation of growing up, though understand that Mr. Punch was a violent man! Judy

  3. Punch and Judy were very much part of my childhood. Always at thr Lodge Christmas Party and we would roar with laughter at the baby being thrown out and Punch beating his wife. There were no politically correct standards just good fun. I dont think I am damaged by all of this. I am 68 years old and consider myself quite sane with no hangups. Love Margaret Saul

  4. Oh Margaret, HEAR, HEAR! Not only was Punch so horrible, but also Noddy and Big Ears and all those other wretches too. We could laugh at them knowing it was all "make-believe"! I'm with YOU.

  5. Hi Judy, I remember your very early stands at the craft shows and I do remember saving up for the yearly shows, marking the date in the calendar and waiting for it to come around with great excitement. I will keep a look out for Punch and Judy memorabillia.
    Deb - Albury