The Hertfordshire Puppeteers were interested in both Traditional
Country Dance and Puppets.
In the early 1920s, they
performed regularly in Villages throughout the Country.
The glove puppets, carved by Mrs Nancy Stone, were mainly stock
characters which appeared in many different plays.
Nancy Stone, who was an
excellent wood-carver, described herself as much more interested
in making the puppets than performing with them, but she did
travel extensively with the Puppet Company and performed plays
written by the Local Drama Group. One of her glove puppets
was a caricature of George Bernard Shaw and she remembered
performing on the Green at Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, where George
Bernard Shaw lived, in the hope that he might come out to see
the puppet of him. On that occasion, he did not, but on
another occasion, he
was very kind to Nancy in assisting her in the production of
carved book-ends with caricatures of himself and
Douglas Hayward acquired some
of the Hertfordshire Puppets in 1985 for the Puppet Collection,
now housed at Staffordshire County Museum, Shugborough.
Unfortunately, Mrs Stone had only recently sold the George
Bernard Shaw and the Farm Worker figures "for very little," to a local Antiques Dealer, something she later
regretted, as she wrote that she would rather all the figures had become part
of the Hayward Collection, but "... they were living a useless
existence in a drawer at the time."
In a letter to Douglas Hayward
in 1985, Nancy Stone said that she felt her figures had suffered
from being too heavy and tiring to work. She was confident
that "modern fibre glass or papier mache would be much lighter
than wood to handle," but her figures had at least "stood up to
quite a bit of bashing about."
Thank goodness they did.
A Russian &
George Bernard Shaw