John M. Blundall (1937-2014) was born in Birmingham of working-class parents and after leaving school trained as an electrical engineer, a theatre stagehand and a circus strongman. He is probably best known for his early work in television with Gerry Anderson (he designed and made Parker for Thunderbirds), his association with Jane Phillips at Caricature Theatre in Wales, and his 25 years of directing and designing productions at The Cannonhill Puppet Theatre in Birmingham.
John M Blundall: Puppet MASTER
Malcolm Knight brought John to Glasgow with his Collection in 1996, employed him as Artistic Director for two years and housed his Collection for four years free of charge. They worked together on a project called ANIMA to be housed at Martyr’s School (Macintosh Building) in Glasgow and John taught on the HND Puppet Theatre Arts via SMPC and Anniesland College. In 2000, John moved to the Old Glasgow Room in The Mitchell Library to establish The World Through Wooden Eyes.
Our John Blundall material is small but significant; the Centre is home to some of the choice international artifacts in his Collection purchased with the aid of The Art Fund (London) in 2018. It includes a hand puppet of General Wu Lie by Yang Feng of the Longxi Puppet Troupe in Fujan; a hand puppet of Petrushka from the Obraztsov Workshop at The Moscow State Central Academic Puppet theatre; a large portrait marionette of the dancer Anna Pavlova as a Butterfly from Vittorio Podrecca’s Piccoli Theatre in Rome ; a Japanese Marionette of a Priestess by Kinosuke Takeda of Tokyo; two Sri Lankan marionettes of a Hermit and a Snake Charmer; a Rangda Witch Mask from Bali; and a wonderful Noh Mask of Okina by Ujiharu Nagasawa from Japan.
The SMPC archive also includes additional material including some designs, drawings, works on paper and teaching material (handouts and bibliographies) plus articles on music for the puppet theatre and John’s view of training and the constituents of what he called “creative puppet theatre”.