Punch and Judy
Pair of Late Victorian Brass Ornaments
Punch and Judy Pair of Brass Ornaments
Punch and Judy Pair of Brass Ornaments Punch and Judy Pair of Brass Ornaments
Punch and Judy Pair of Brass Ornaments maker's mark Punch and Judy Pair of Brass Ornaments open, viewed from top
Punch and Judy Ornaments
English or American: c. 1900
Brass or bronze
Punch: 11.75 x 8 x 3 inches
Judy: 10.5 x 8 x 3 inches
$800, the pair

Pair of brass or bronze standing ornaments cast in high relief (with flat backs) in the form of the traditional British puppet show characters Punch and Judy.  They were likely intended as fireplace, mantelpiece, or other ornaments, or perhaps as doorstops or oversized bookends.  Each character is portrayed as a seated figure on a low pedestal.  Punch is depicted with a dog who wears a ruffled collar and a plumed hat.  Judy is shown with a cat and holding their baby, who also regularly figures in the plots of Punch and Judy shows.  Numerous brass, bronze and cast iron versions of Punch and Judy ornaments in this configuration were produced in the late Victorian era.  This pair was recently polished to a shiny golden color.

Punch and Judy are traditional British puppet show characters, with roots in the 16th-century Italian commedia dell'arte--Punch is an Anglicized version of the Italian name Pulcinella.  The first mention in British literature of a Punch puppet show is in the late 17th century.  During the 18th century, Punch and Judy shows became an established popular entertainment, performed with hand puppets in mobile puppet stages set up on street corners.  Originally intended for adults, by the late Victorian era, they were primarily performed for children.

Reference:

"Punch and Judy."  Wikipedia.org.  24 May 2012.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punch_and_Judy (25 May 2012).