19th Century Toy Theatre

The Toy Theatre developed as a souvenir of the ‘real theatre’ and the printers of Europe, some moving from copper plate engraving to lithographic printing saw the opportunity to produce the sheets of paper, to be cut-up and played with. From Charles Dickens in England, to Hans Christian Anderson in Denmark, it is recorded that many famous storytellers started with a paper theatre. Stylistically, the English toy theatre related to it’s own theatrical ‘folk’ culture. In the Northern European countries, the elaborate rococo styles were meant for the expensive wooden theatres, a drawing room plaything for children. Commedia ‘Dell Arte and the travelling Guignol shows influenced the French and Italian traditon. The actual artists are overshadowed by the names of the publishers: Schreiber and Scholz of Germany, Imagerie Pellerin of Epinal in France, Seix y Barral and Paluzie of Barcelona with their translucent scenes join Pollock, Webb and Hodgson of England amongst others.