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Punch & Judy

“Punch and Judy” is a stencil decoration by Margaret Lloyd which appeared in the January 1905 issue of The Studio, a British magazine focused on the Arts & Crafts. Locating biographical material on Lloyd has been difficult; she may have married and been subsumed by the identity of her husband, of she may simply not have pursued a career in art or illustration. Hard to say. But I won’t give up looking.

This illustration for the iconic characters Punch and Judy was a mainstay of 19th century popular entertainment for British children—though one wonders how its political incorrectness would survive in the 21st. What we’re given here is a day at the beach, with both children and adults in Dickensian attire. Note the distant signs for “Real Live Mermaid” and “Meat Pies.” Shades of Mrs Lovett. “Try the priest.”

Yet, despite its inappropriateness for children (by today’s measure), I have desperately wanted this image to become a part of the Agincourt Saga. I feel there must have been an early kindergarten in town, a place of Progressive education where this joy-filled scene might have afforded a daydreamer like myself the chance for an out-of-body experience. Conversations with Mr Salyards have centered on its potential to become a window. What think you?

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On the other hand, wouldn’t it make a wonderful quilt!


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