John M. Blundall Tiller Clowes Collection

Scope and Content

Material collected by puppetry specialist John Blundall, on the Tiller Clowes family and their marionette troupe. Consisting of a newspaper article, handwritten and printed notes on marionette shows, notes by Harry Whanslaw (1883 – 1965), postcards and photographs of Tiller Clowes family members.

Administrative / Biographical History

John M Blundall (1937-2004) was a Master Puppeteer and collector. His collection has been formally displayed at The World Through Wooden Eyes at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow since 2004. It is one of the richest and most important, accessible puppetry collections on an international scale.

Blundall was interested in performance from a young age. He produced puppets for children's television series such as Fireball XL5 (1962-63) and Thunderbirds (1965-66) and, later, created Pob for Channel 4's popular Pob's Programme (1985-87). In 1967, Blundall founded Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre at the MAC in Birmingham and over the next 25 years created 80 productions, most of which he wrote, designed, and directed himself. The company quickly formed an international reputation and established Blundall as a pioneering performer, craftsman and teacher. Blundall became involved with numerous puppetry-related initiatives worldwide and travelled widely throughout his career to study the skills and styles of other puppeteers and makers, and the puppet-making techniques of places such as Japan and Russia.


This collection has been arranged into the following series;

  • THM/527/1 Images.
  • THM/527/2 Handwritten notes.
  • THM/527/3 Research Material.
  • THM/527/4 Correspondence.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Purchase 2018.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance including the George Speaight Archive containing related material to the Tiller Clowes marionette troupe. Objects from the George Speaight collection were catalogued as museum objects and can be found on search the collections via the V&A website Books from the George Speaight collection can be found on the V&A Library catalogue.

The Tiller-Clowes marionette puppet troupe are catalogued as museum objects and can be found on search the collections via the V&A website

Please ask for details.