Archive for the 'Old news – archived' Category

22
Jun
10

green’s characters and scenes

The latest in our series of information sheets (No.4) gives details about the publications of J.K.Green. There is a list of all his plays showing how many plates of characters, scenes, wings etc., a list of the wings series with descriptions and other details. It is something of great use to collectors and we are the only people publishing this type of list. Hugo Brown, who is a descendent of Mr.Green himself, has provided much of the information and checked it. We are very grateful to him.

The document can be downloaded here Green.

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22
Jun
10

webb archive

If one reads the “classic” histories of the Toy Theatre one gets the impression that although the Pollock business survived into modern times, all that had gone before was irretrievably lost. Plates had been broken up and other material had been destroyed.

Then in the 1980s a man walked into Pollock’s Toy Museum and announced that he was a descendant of the Webb family, not only that but the family still had all the plates, original drawings and much other material from that great Toy Theatre publishing house and its predecessors!

Sadly this material was put up for sale in 1994 and most went to the USA. Fortunately the family had produced a detailed inventory that revealed for the first time the treasures it contained, including material from Skelt and other earlier publishers and proofs for lots of plays that were never published.

The Webb Archive is now housed at the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University, New Jersey. The Library has decided to make the collection easily accessible and as a part of this, Laurie Webb, the great grandson of William Webb, the original publisher, has travelled to the USA this year to assist in cataloguing.

22
Jun
10

a glimpse into the past

Pollock's old shop in Hoxton as featured in the newsreels

What would one give to go back to one of the old London Toy Theatre shops and meet the publishers at work!

Now thanks to long forgotten newsreels and their availability through the internet one can do that, at least in a passive role!

The oldest, “Penny Plain – Twopence Coloured” , made by Gaumont in the 1920s, shows Benjamin Pollock at work in his Hoxton shop. He prints a block of four sheets, colours them using templates, cuts them out and performs them on one of his Toy Theatres with the help of his daughter Louisa.

The other two are by Pathe. “Tinsel Pictures” shows the publisher H.J. Webb making tinsel portraits, an art form of which he was the recognised master. This was made in 1932.

Perhaps the best however is the film “Model theatre” made in 1944 in those fragile end of war years just before Pollock’s shop was closed and it was virtually destroyed by a flying bomb.

Passers by, including   woman with a pram and a rather official looking gentleman chat with Louisa Pollock at the doorway of the shop. Two precocious looking schoolboys show an unbelievable interest in the antique prints and theatres on display in the window. Louisa and her sister Selina are then seen colouring and setting up a play to perform.

Ignoring the rather sad commentary added by Pathe that talks about two old ladies in an unknown run down shop cutting up paper dolls, this  film is delightful!

To see and possibly purchase copies of these films use a search engine on the internet. Direct links are not given here in case they change.

22
Jun
10

latest book

Printing Toy Theatres

The latest in the series of high quality Toy Theatre publications following recent UK exhibitions was published last year. This book gives a unique insight and much original information that shatters previously held ideas about how the Toy Theatre publishers manufactered their plays.

It also shows how the printing plates were made and transferred between uses, which in turn tells us much about the plays themselves. It even features a previously unknown publisher – Lazarus and opens up a new story about Jewish influences on this medium.

There are also papers about hand colouring and tinselling. The book is illustrated with masses of fascinating and well reproduced images. All in all a highly recommended book that is good value for money.

Copies are available from the Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust, at 99 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE, www.pollocksmuseum.co.uk.