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An illustration of a crowd gathered to watch a Punch and Judy show, from 'London: a Pilgrimage' by Blanchard Jerrold and Gustave Doré, 1872. Punch and Judy shows have their roots in Italian theatre. Samuel Pepys records seeing one such 'Italian puppet play' on 9th May 1662, and by the nineteenth century the Punch and Judy puppet show, as we know it today, was established in England. Jerrold records that Punch is universally popular: 'We have all confessed to the indefinable witchery of the heartless rogue of the merry eye and ruby nose, whose career - so far as we are permitted to know it - is an unbroken round of facetious brutalities. Wife-beating is second nature to him. To be sure Judy does not look all that man can desire in the partner of his bosom. The dog, indeed, makes the best appearance; and is the most reputable member of this notorious family.'
© Museum of London