Toy theatre 'Zoological Garden'
This scene of a zoological garden, designed as a prop for imaginative play, was probably made in Germany between 1860 and 1870. The clothing indicates it may have been as made as early as 1860, but these scenes were often produced for many years after they were first designed.
This is a particularly fine paper theatre set which has been much loved in its life time. We can see this is the case because the magazine used to strengthen the original worn-out box was printed in 1901, many years after the toy was made.
There are 46 separate pre-cut and hand-coloured pieces, each of which is still in surprisingly good condition. These paper toys were very delicate and few original paper dioramas from this period have survived in good condition. While this toy's original box has been tampered with, the diorama itself has survived almost completely intact and it remains a significant example of early Victorian toy manufacture and design.
Baldwin, P., 'Toy Theatres of the World', A. Zwemmer, London, England, 1992
Significance Statement, Geoff Barker, March, 2007