Giovanni Piccini

1745 – 1835

The publisher of the text of Punch and Judy, John Payne Collier, and the illustrator, George Cruikshank, based their 1827 book on the performances of Giovanni Piccini, an old travelling puppeteer who had been active in England for nearly fifty years, having come from Piacenza in 1779. Piccini became a renowned puppeteer in the London of the first half of the 19th century, contributing to the widespread popularity of Punch and Judy shows. After the publication of Collier's book, however, he sold his puppet booth and puppets. It is believed that he ended his career with gallanty shows (shadow theater). He ended his days in poverty. See Geoff Felix: Punch and Judy. Inside the Booth, G. Felix, 2016.