Issue 13 – June 2009
Welcome to the thirteenth news bulletin for “Hugo’s Toy Theatre”.
Due to work commitments and the untimely death of my late mother, I have not had the opportunity to update this web-site over the past year or so. However, I have made time to take to my keyboard again and continue where I left off. Hopefully over the coming months there should be some exciting things happening here.
I want to expand on each of JK Green’s plays, to include a thumbnail of each sheet and enlargements for selected sheets. I also want to include a short history of each play and the script as produced by JK Green (where I have one). Space on my web-server is always the limiting factor, but I hope to expand this through links to a secondary site.
In recent months I have come into possession of a few interesting items. The most notable of which is the oldest known sheet produced by JK Green, in the form of “Punch’s Show” and dates from around 1810. This sheet could be seen as the first toy theatre print, in that it could be made into a kit to produce a Punch & Judy Booth. The sheet is perfectly cut on three sides, the remaining side has been cut with long scissors; so was there an extra piece to the kit? We’ll probably never know, but it may have held the plans for making the Booth. I have recently painted a copy of “Punch’s Show” and this should be seen on this web-site shortly.
I have also had the extreme pleasure of visiting one the country’s most notable collectors, Peter Baldwin, which has helped answer a few outstanding questions I have had on the origins of some of Green’s sheets. Firstly, I had only ever seen modern pulls from the plates of Goody Goose, which made me think it had not been published, however, this has now been disproved as in Peter’s collection was an almost complete set of JK Green original sheets for the play. Secondly, I have only ever seen two copies of JK Green’s Wing No.6 with original colouring. I have now seen three. This is quite surprising, as this set of Wings appeared in no less than 17 plays. I had seen probably over a hundred copies in plain form before I saw the first coloured sheet, which was in the Museum of London. I have yet to see a Pollock’s coloured version of the same plate. It is quite bizarre to see so many plain versions of a sheet and no coloured versions. Pollock did favour Park’s Wings No.9 over Green’s No.6 and I have seen many coloured versions of the Park version. The day I spent with Peter was memorable and I look forward to another visit with great eagerness.
Sight of one other collection, has allowed me to see some of the lesser known works of JK Green, including a cover for “Green’s ABC”, whatever that was and two early valentines cards. The latter were quite grotesque, as they seem to suggest the recipient of these cards would be quite ugly and not particularly liked. Perhaps this was an example of early Victorian humour.
I have started to compile a book using the “Blurb” book production package. “Blurb” enables the user to create one-off books with as many as 440 pages in full colour. They are not cheap, but for a print run of one they are excellent value. Once created you can print off as many copies as you like but they are all the same price. When completed I will offer it for sale. Probably another year or so before it’s finished, but it will be the most comprehensive book ever published on JK Green. I hope to include examples of many sheets and descriptions of all the plays etc.
I have been working hard to discover what happened in the “missing years” as far as JK Green was concerned. The “missing years” being 1814 to 1832. So far I continue to draw a blank, but I will continue to hunt.
I have discovered one interesting fact. John Kilby Green junior, signed up to the British Navy in August 1854 for a period of not less than 10 years. He was assigned to the HMS Waterloo. This explains why I hadn’t found him on the 1861 Census, he was probably far away from British shores. It may also give an added reason as to why JK Green had such a fondness for his production of the “Battle of Waterloo”.
Finally on the history front, I have spent a great deal of time trying to get to the bottom of the Skelt family. Who were M Skelt, M&M Skelt, M&B Skelt, E Skelt and G Skelt. Well I think I am close to solving the riddle. See the Publishers page for more details.
I am no longer offering “reproduction” plays for sale. I have come across too much competition and I am pleased to leave it to them.
I am, however, working on painting several items, including some of JK Green’s portraits, his 1834 small ½d proscenium and JK Green’s “Harlequin Riddle-me-ree”. When I have a portfolio of sufficient size, I may offer these for sale.
In the meantime, if anyone out there would like a copy of anything I have, then, just ask, and I will send a quote for the expected cost.
More news shortly.
Great Great Great Grandson of JK Green.
13 High Street