Anyone for T?

Spitting Image Margaret Thatcher
‘Spitting Image’ puppet of Margaret Thatcher.
One of several versions of Mrs T that featured in the ITV series in the 1980s and 1990s.
Photograph: ITV/Rex Features

A week today in the UK there’s a little event called ‘The General Election’ and with some savvy timing the James Hyman Gallery in London has put on an exhibition of photographs called ‘Spitting’. The exhibition features photographs of the original puppets from the 1980s and 1990s satirical series ‘Spitting Image’ which regularly lampooned the contemporary gang of politicians. The life-sized puppets are part of James Hyman’s private art collection and photographers Andrew Bruce and Anna Fox have clearly relished capturing the ferocious, savage puppet caricatures.

The TV series was the work of Peter Fluck and Roger Law. They designed the life-sized puppets and also made pots and teapots of their caricatures. Some of the more popular pieces from Luck and Flaw Productions were made into a stoneware collection by Carlton Ware. This ‘Mrs T’ (Margaret Thatcher) teapot is displayed in The Twining Teapot Gallery at the Norwich Castle Museum.

Although no longer in production a Mrs T teapot can be bought from between £70-£80 and a Mrs T jug from between £50-£60 from various shops selling collectible ceramics.

Margaret Thatcher jug
Mrs T Spitting Image Carlton Ware jug – continuing a long British tradition of biting, political satire stretching back to the 18th-century work of Hogarth, Gillray and Rowlandson.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

11 thoughts on “Anyone for T?”

  1. Memories, memories. The world seems a less interesting place without those savage puppets. I can’t quite work out what they’d have made of the present crew, though Farage could have been something of a gift.

    1. On the nail with Farage, and I agree with you about the overall blandness of the suits, but the women look lively. I think they might have had a bit of fun with Nicola Sturgeon.

  2. Loved Spitting Image, but then Mrs T was a gift to satire. I still regret that in 1982 I didn’t buy a Margaret Thatcher toilet roll holder (we were very poor at the time) – the roll came out of her mouth 🙂

    1. Yes, there was something deliciously disturbing about the Spitting Image puppets. Don’t think I ever saw a Mrs T loo roll holder, expect they’re collectible now!

  3. It does seem all the real characters have gone from politics now. I arrived in the UK in 1978 on a five year visa. Then mrs t came to power and there seemed no end to things she wanted to change, whether it was breaking unions or sending poor backpackers home. Every time I went to the continent, I had to plead my case at the border to be let back in because she’d changed the rules again. They even seized my passport once. You can imagine I took great delight in the satire.

    1. Oh dear – how unfriendly this country must have seemed, not sure it’s improved that much – and there’s talk of the UK leaving the European Union now which will make travelling round this part of the globe more complicated for everyone.

      1. I have lots of great memories of my time there, and if I could have got the right stamp in my passport, that is where life might have kept me. Sliding doors. My grandfather was born near Cartmel, but it took me twenty years to prove it, by which time I was well settled back in Oz. enjoy spring! I have been following your posts, but not commenting much. Trying to get my digital marketing, social media presence ready for the book launch.

      2. Oh don’t worry about commenting when you’ve got a BIG deadline coming up. It’s nice to see fellow bloggers are about, but we all have multiple demands on our time. Getting ready for your book launch is a critical time and a ‘one’ moment occasion and you’ll want to have everything in place for when they fire the starting gun. Good luck.

    1. Yes, it’s both boring and worrying – and possibly won’t be resolved in the early hours of Friday morning either. Currently mostly talk of a hung parliament followed by shifty back room deals to form another coalition. We could do with a change – maybe proportional representation should be tried.

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