Friday, 3 June 2011


This is an image from a book that belonged to my older sister and used to terrorise me as a child (the image, not the book). Yet I'm pretty sure that I couldn't see it, back then, the hanged puppet whose dangling legs are visible in the foreground. It was something in Harlequin's eyes that haunted me back then, and unnerves me still.

The book is called The World of Toys (1969) and what makes this image so peculiar is that there is nothing in the text that explains or justifies that brooding detail. I now associate it to a more illustrious puppet whose story is mostly known in its sanitised, infantilised retelling by Disney. And so this is a scene, from the magnificent Jonathan Cape edition of Pinocchio illustrated by Roberto Innocenti, that most people aren't familiar with.

(On the subject of Mr Innocenti I must, gratuitously, link to his recent letter of refusal to participate in the Venice Biennale.)


  1. Yes, that Harlequin is rather menacing.

  2. blog.