(Hingham, MA): c. 1930s. A black & white photograph of a marionette made by W. A. Dwiggins, measuring 10 by 10 1/2 inches. The marionette is a likeness of F. Morton Smith, a Boston lawyer who was married to Margaret Coatsworth, the sister of the children's book author and illustrator Elizabeth Coatsworth. Both Margaret Coatsworth and F. Morton Smith were friends of Dwiggins and became involved with his theatrical productions: Smith is listed as a puppeteer on the program for Dwiggins's first production, "The Mystery of the Blind Beggarman, or Billy Brown's Bravery," which was performed for two seasons in 1933-1934. In Smith's marionette likeness, Dwiggins perfectly captures his friend's bushy eyebrows and prominent nose, and depicts him wearing a jacket and bow tie and smoking a cigarette. A noted book and type designer, illustrator, calligrapher, and writer in his professional life, Dwiggins began making marionettes as a hobby in 1928 and continued for twelve years. He took on the role of director, carved the figures, and designed the stages, scenery, costumes, and lighting for his productions. Everything was done with the same perfectionism that defined all of his work. Dwiggins made marionettes of himself and several of his friends. Although it does not appear that these marionettes were ever characters in a formal play, photographs taken by friends of Dwiggins show the marionettes interacting onstage. Photograph is mounted on board and protected by a piece of mylar. Indentation and slight staining from a paperclip to left margin, slight bumping to corners, and photograph has a slight warp to edges, else a very nice image of one of Dwiggins's remarkable marionettes. Item #24616
(Abbe, The Dwiggins Marionettes).