Black and white photo of Jim Wigley making a puppet head
Mystery boy in photo with Jim

An indistinct image of a small boy, around 9 or 10 years of age can be seen watching, or even posing. The time of the photo creation is thought to be between 1953 and 1956 –more likely early 1956 or late 1955. It most likely is Hymie Slade’s son, Harry, who would be around 9 at the time. It is not me – there is no memory stirred. But it is someone. The only memory I have of Hymie and Jim is a visit to his flat with instruction from Mum to retrieve her book, Michelangelo by Phaidon Press – part of a set. I remember finding the book and falling into the images of the Sistine chapel, in particular St. Bartholomew ‘displaying his flayed skin (a self-portrait by Michelangelo) in The Last Judgment‘. The book was big and too heavy to carry home…damn it.

The puppet heads have a sense of playfulness and caricature in their expressions, so they could be representational of known personalities of the time. This was a period when Jim made backdrops and theatre props for Ruth Bergner’s dance performances.

Always looking for clues. Any assistance appreciated.

Puppet heads Jim Wigley and Hymie Slade. ciric 1950s

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