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THE IMMORTAL VILLAIN -
In 1662 Samuel Pepys, the diarist, noted that during his stroll in Covent Garden
he saw a hooked-
Mister Punch is, by origin, an ancient character. In the Greek and Roman theatre we find grotesque characters, particularly Maccus and Buccus, generally thought to be the forerunners of our popular comic folk hero.
In the 14th century illustrated manuscript 'The Romance of Alexander', of Flemish origin, two illustrations show puppet performances in a booth called a castelet. The performance is that of jousting puppets and is the first printed image of a form puppet stage similar to the well known Punch and Judy booth.
In 1625 the painter and engraver Jacques Callot produced a series of works with the
title 'The Balli de Sfessania' showing the early characters of the Commedia del'Arte.
One of the characters is Pulcinella. With the rising popularity of this character,
an enterprising puppeteer near Naples created a glove or hand puppet with the familiar
white costume and black half-
Punchinello, later known as Punch -
William Hogarth's engraving is full of detail, recreating the unique character of
these Fairs that were ultimately closed down due to the many improper practises there.
With their closure, Mister Punch was forced into finding other ways of developing
his character and popularity with a smaller and more portable stage. At this point
he became a hand puppet and slowly the now familiar striped chimney-
One of the most popular Punch and Judy men, Piccini -
Vast numbers of Punch and Judy publications were produced during the 19th century,
particularly the highly coloured (frequently hand-
Since the earliest appearance of Mr Punch there have been continuous rumours that he was on the way out but he never disappears.