Solwig's Father Marionette

Description (Brief)
This marionette is a character from the popular Henrik Ibsen play "Peer Gynt." Known as Solwigs father, this marionette was made and used by the Tatterman Marionette Company in 1936. The story is based on Solwig's daughter, who much to her father's dismay falls in love with an egocentric opportunist named Peer Gynt.
Made of wood, Gynt has meticulously carved fine details and wears a shoddy tan jacket over a pink and green vest black silk ribbon around his neck and blue velvet pants.
Classical theater productions such as operas, Shakespeare, as well as Greek comedies and tragedies have been adapted to the puppet stage. The Tatterman Company, based in Cleveland and founded by William Duncan and Edward Mabley in 1926 focused on audiences that included both children and adults. The company performed thousands of plays and toured all over the United States before World War II. Duncan and Mabley saw puppetry as a great learning tool, and were intent on producing plays that would provide an educational experience for school children.
This production of Peer Gynt was specifically aimed at an adult audience and the revision of the play was no small feat.
Originally a 6 hour production, even too long for adults, the play was shortened to two hours and a new stage and portable backdrops, made by Terence Von Duren, an art instructor at the Cleveland School of Art , were made for an easy breakdown and transport of the scenes. But more significantly, eight puppeteers were needed to cover the cast of 44 puppets.
The puppets were created by two brothers, artists in their own right. Roy Patton carved all the heads, while his younger brother Harry built the bodies and made the clothing for all 44 puppets. The artistic talent and expert workmanship are obvious, and the time required to put on this show was substantial. With the onset of World War II the company disbanded.
Currently not on view
date made
Tatterman Marionette Company
Patton, Roy E.
Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor
place made
United States: Ohio
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
string (overall material)
overall: 27 in x 7 in; 68.58 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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