William Henry James Shaw

This figure was made between 1890 and 1910 by a figure maker named William Henry James Shaw. He was from Victoria Missouri and was a mannequin and window display maker. He also produced mechanical wax figures like the type figure you would see in Tussaud's Wax Museum. His catalogue also boasted that he made the world's best ventriloquist figures. These were made of wood and paper mache. His black figures were called " Laughing Negro" of course the Negro minstrel shows were going very strong so this was not out of place.

This example that you see is all original but the tar baby paint has been touched up. The body, head stick and clothing are all original and period to this figure. He has a wonderful free floating head with a great locking mechanism to hold it in place but yet allow the free float. Side to side self centering eyes and moving leather mouth. You will look far and wide to find a better example of this type ventriloquist figure.
























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