There’s a Secret Puppet Collection in Glasgow’s Victorian Mitchell Library

Victorian Puppets | © Mary T Moore /Flick
Victorian Puppets | © Mary T Moore /Flick
Photo of Tasnim Nazeer
Freelance Journalist12 December 2017

Did you know that hidden in the vibrant city of Glasgow, there is a marvel of historical artefacts to explore in the form of a secret puppet collection. The renowned Mitchell Library in Glasgow is home to an array of puppets from across the history of puppet arts dating back to early works and moving onto contemporary puppets.

The World Through Wooden Eyes is the name given to the collection of puppets which have been amassed over the span of the last fifty years by master puppeteer, director and designer John. M Blundell. Blundell’s distinct collection showcases the vibrancy of puppetry throughout the years, highlighting puppets that have come from international destinations. The collection features works from Japan, India, Europe and also features the famous ‘Punch and Judy’ marionette characters.

Punch and Judy | © Smabs Sputzer /Flickr

The collection places significant emphasis on the fact that the puppets were created for performances as their real meaning cannot be defined without using them in theatre or a show to fully express their ‘character forms’. The ‘ideas store’ in the library houses workshops to understand puppet artistry in its true performative context and also stages historical performances and shows how the puppets were made. Children and adults alike can enjoy the puppets and learn more about them in addition to taking a look at Blundell’s other artefacts in the collection, such as the masks, toys, prints and books.

Mitchell Library | © Kasia Raj /Flickr

The innovative collection hosts around 6,000 volumes of books from around the world, in addition to toy theatre and actor toys, which children may enjoy looking at. A selection of the puppets from Blundell’s collection are also featured in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Education Suite for those who are interested in seeing more of the puppets in their full glory. However, for those who prefer to take a look at the other marvels that Mitchell library has to offer, you won’t be disappointed with the breadth of magnificent historical artefacts, paintings and exhibitions for you to explore; puppets are just one of the many treasures that this library has preserved.

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