Tiller & Cowes Family Troupe Marionettes


  • £10,495.00 For The Collection
  • €12,193 Euro
  • $14,821 US Dollar

United Kingdom

DC Member since 2016
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Tiller & Cowes Family Troupe Marionettes

A collection of Tiller & Clowes marionettes circa 1870/1890. Taken from the families rendition of the anti slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe, published 1852 Uncle Toms Cabin.

One of the main characters "Topsy" is in the collection along with three others.

All constructed from hand carved wood painted with fabric attire, comprising of "Topsy" in long floral dress over yellow knickerbockers with lace cuffs, red bow in hair, 63cm x 15cm x 8cm

Gent with blue glass eyes, dressed in black suit with white shirt, white flower in button hole, 66cm x 18cm x 7cm

Gent in checked flannel suit, waistcoat and shirt, with red bowtie and round glasses, 66cm x 16cm x 8cm;

Gent in patterned top and plain trousers, bald with bright blue glass eyes, 70cm x 18cm x 8cm

All the marionettes have age related wear, they have also been restrung but retain their original pine control bars. A rare collection of English folk art, with the majority of the families puppets housed in the permanent collection of the Victorian and Albert Museum London

Tiller & Clowes was a British travelling marionette company created in the second half of the 19th century. The families were among the last to travel with a complete wooden booth with canvas covering, and to present a repertoire of standard melodramas such as Maria Marten or East Lynne. Around 1860 Ambrose Tiller, from Southampton, was hired by the great marionette (string puppet) proprietor, John Simms. In 1863 Simms’ partner was killed while dismantling the booth in a storm, when his widow, Eliza Cheadle, herself a member of a travelling company, became the partner of Ambrose Tiller. Her daughter by John Hunt married John Clowes, who belonged to another well-established theatre company from the Birmingham area.

Price is for the collection of four, they will not be spilt.


19th Century

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My partner and I have been collecting unique, decorative antiques for the past 10 years, travelling far and wide sourcing the best our pockets could afford.

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