Oh, the joys of a very strange inheritance!

Busy untangling some of our marionettes today, what a mess some of them seem to have got themselves into. As I did it I was thinking that much of this will be a lost art one 1-DSCF1101day.   Will anyone care about which way to pull the strings to get a marionette to work  properly, or be able to string a musician for instance?


The heads of some of the older puppets were modelled using a ‘secret recipe’ that even I have forgotten, with the emphasis on sawdust and pearl glue  boiled on an ancient gas cooker.  I like  to think of them as works of art, like looking at a painting or a piece of sculpture. but will future generations see them in that light?


A few of the sets of characters are destined for museums, The Imperial War Museum have said yes to the ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ characters but it is ‘touch and go’and hard work to pin otDSCF2491her museum curators down. I think it is a question of categories,  because they are not toys and in Britain marionettes have always been regarded as children’s entertainment.

Then of course it is still a question of ‘gifting’ rather than selling.   If I this is cindershad the nerve I would think about putting some of them on Ebay, but I hate the idea of splitting them up and suppose no one bid? Or, worse still, a dealer breezes in and buys the lot at a knock down price to sell on.

I am, after all, still fond of them all. The skeletons, the dramatic ones,Ann Perrin slide (613) the violinist and an ostrich who did their stuff in Cabaret at the Cafe Royal, a French singer from 1948,  an opera star, clowns,


Ann Perrin slide (537)   Ann Perrin slide (292)   Ann Perrin slide (594)   1-P1000657   DSCF1532

Can Can dancers, a duck playing a whistle, hula hooping elephants, Cinderella and all her aides and my favourite – all the characters from Alice in Wonderland. 1-DSCF1112They are all works of art in their own right like a piece of china or a favourite bracelet left to one by one’s mother or aunt.


But as I untangle another one, try to date it and record it’s performances I am reminded this unruly crowd earned my parents a living and mine too, for several years. So I feel I owe them some  tlc. do the best for them, the decent thing,  new strings, a new hand if one has gone missing, even if I have try to remember how to carve hands again and endeavour to carve one.

I’m rubbish at administration but if I can’t get them placed in museums, I know in my heart of hearts I may have to investigate lottery money, or get an  arts council grant to get this particular show on the road. 1-DSCF1111

I’ve looked at doing this before and it is daunting! But as much as I love them I have to pay for some to be in storage, and not least I’m getting older myself and was quite ill this summer, so I am telling myself  this time  it is for real or the skip and landfill might still beckon.

2-DSCF0579 1-DSC04241 1-DSC04229

The conservation of our small soldiers, one of the plaster horses from the  set of ‘Oh What a Lovely War’.

Hopefully when it is all done, I can spend more time for my allotment, do more practice for my harp lessons, mess about with some painting and of course my poetry!

Oh the joys of a very strange inheritance!

Some of the circus but sadly without the repartee of the clowns


Scenes from Alice in Wonderland


Story of our marionettes – now a bit dated!


Film about manipulating marionettes.


….and there are others made with my mother over ten years ago.

Have you ever been left something in someone’s will that in some ways you would rather be without?

Update 2016

Since writing this post. the ‘Oh What Lovely War’ marionettes have been on TV twice and are now on display in The Grange Art Gallery and museum in Rottingdean.

The storage unit has come into its own and each puppet has been looked at and tidied up. And I have written a second poetry collection, most of the poems are free verse and some in a modern style that belies my age hopefully. Poems about  joys and otherwise of being a puppeteer’s daughter, others about art, artists, eccentrics, nature, life, death….

Why not consider buying a copy from City Books in Hove  or The Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean or on line in Amazon and Lulu = but with postage both the later options are more expensive.

This entry was posted in Brighton - out and about, Cheer yourself up, Finding my feet in Brighton, Marionette, Poetry - Creative Writing, Puppethouse mayhem and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s