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The term Fantoccini is one of the words used to describe jointed puppets operated from above by rods and/or strings, particularly in the early 19th century, before the term marionette came into general usage in Britain and the colonies. Other terms employed at that time included “artificial comedians”, “automatons” , “moving waxworks” , “Pygmies” and “Lilliputians” and so on.

The word fantoccini derives from the Italian diminutive fantoccio (French fantoche) used to refer to children and dolls of miniature stature, and was introduced into England by Carlo Perico and his company in 1770. The word was quickly adopted, especially by street performers, for Punch and Judy style performances, consisting of a series of trick and variety numbers.

See also The Fantoccini Family (Ray)


"Fantoccini" in the Unima website The World Encyclopaedia of Puppetry[1]

Griffith Llewellyn. 1809. The Fantoccini: Or, the Great Public Puppet Show, as Exhibited by Signior Tintaraboloso. Described in a Poetical Epistle from Griffith Llewellyn to His Cousin Rice Ap Shinkins. With Illustrative Notes Historical and Critical by the Curate of Aberistwith. Published by Maxwell and Wilson, London.[2]

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