artist in Cambridgeshire

A True Confession

Muffin the Mule Collectors' Club Newsletter
No.30 October 2009

A TRUE CONFESSION... by TED CONEY

As this is the last ever newsletter I can reveal that my real favourite TV puppet from the 1950s was not Muffin (sorry Adrienne) but Mr Turnip!

In fact, the only thing I had left, forty years later, when I was looking for an image to represent my childhood in a painting I was working on, was an old scrapbook of pictures of Mr Turnip, I had collected.

I decided that I wanted to track down the original puppet, and as luck would have it, he was residing with his creator, Joy Laurey only 60 miles from where I lived at the time.

Joy was very welcoming and invited me to lunch. She allowed me to make drawings, photographs and measurements of her puppet and gave her consent to allow me to have a replica made.

Over the next few years I visited Joy on several occasions and she even came to our house, much to my children's delight (as she was accompanied by Turnip) to unveil my painting 'Diamonds'. This was a work about my parents leaving their home after 60 years and I used the puppet to appear to have one last look around before it all vanished.

I also used Turnip for a more complicated painting 'The Enigma of the Chinese Mask' about ten years later. This was after discovering that Joy had based the head of the puppet on a Chinese mask, which had the ability to seem to have different emotions just by a tilt of the actor's head. The secret was in the very low, pronounced cheek bones which made the face look as if it had changed, when viewed from different angles. As a young child looking at misty black and white television I always imagined that Mr Turnip's face kept changing expressions, so listening to Joy talk, was a revelation.

For my replica, two puppet makers made six heads between them, before we got anywhere near the 'real' Mr Turnip.

Another interesting fact I gleaned from Joy was that she had used 'serial stringing' to hang the marionette. This meant that instead of attaching strings to the various limbs, she actually had the threads running throught Mr Turnip's body. I think the is why his subtle movements, fascinated me, and I remembered him, years later.

I have used Mr Turnip in several ways in four of my paintings about family life and Muffin in only one. However, I am beginning to get ideas about a new Muffin painting (after a gap of seventeen years), so you never know!

Ted Coney


You can see 'Diamonds', 'The Enigma of the Chinese Mask' and other paintings involving Mr Turnip AND 'David's Journey' (the painting using Muffin, already covered in an earlier newsletter) at Ted Coney's Family Portraits. For more details of opening times and location, visit his website at www.tedconeysfamilyportraits.co.uk

Editor: In March 2007 a large number of items owned by Joy Laurey were auctioned off including the original Mr Turnip puppet which realized £3,000.


View PDF version
 
Visitor Comments
“ WHAT A WEALTH OF CREATIVITY AND EXPERIENCE ”
A.H., Ely

“ I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! AN EXPERIENCE TO MAKE ONE THINK ”
M.R., Ely
“ ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! – CAN’T WAIT TO BRING VISITORS ”
J.L., Toft

“ FANTASTIC... WE’LL BE BACK! ”
S.M., Whittlesford
“ AS EVER... AN EXPERIENCE TO
INSPIRE
”
A.K., Cherry Hinton

“ IMAGINATIVE, FASCINATING AND SO WELL PUT TOGETHER ”
J.J., Cambridge
“ FASCINATING! – WE WILL RETURN ”
M.A., Burwell

“ WONDERFUL WORKMANSHIP... INTRIGUING INTERPRETATIONS ”
J.S., Ely
“ CLEARLY A VERY ATTRACTIVE PRODUCT WHICH FITS PERFECTLY IN ITS SURROUNDINGS ”
Visit England
 
 Opening hours:
Open Sundays between April - December

Reopening on
Sunday 23rd April
(booking reopens on
1st April) Tours begin at 2pm & 3pm

Other times by appointment
Booking essential



Site MapSite hosted and maintained by Apex Web Works