In the early 1930s, Influenced by his friend John Bickerdike, Richard turned his interest in carving away from whole figures towards making puppet heads. A few of these have survived, but many had to be destroyed because of woodworm infestation. After Richard and Mavis were married and living in The New Forest, they worked together on the puppets with Mavis making the costumes. They made a theatre too and put on performances, combining them with their love of music.
In 1937 one was given a glowing review in the local paper.
In 1938 Richard recorded preparations for a performance they did for the Guides in his diary:
17th Jan 1938
'Put up puppet stage in the morning . . . .’ [In the evening after an eventful day!] ‘Wrote out a sketch for puppets’.
‘Worked at puppets in the morning and part of the afternoon.’
‘Rehearsing puppets in the morning. Took the puppet theatre along to the W.I. Hall in the afternoon. Took Crispin to the Tophams to be looked after while we gave our performance.The car konked (sic) out just as we started, so we had to push it back and run along with the props tucked under our arms.
Got to the hall and found it packed with guides. There must have been 2 or 3 hundred. We soon got our props sorted out and everything went very well, the audience being most appreciative. What a difference it makes!
Our show lasted about half an hour and included ‘Keys of Canterbury' (New Version), Guide Captains from Central Africa, Sam and Noah, Monkeys with Spider and Balloon, The Antique Shop, Community Singing. We are glad that is over, but it was very enjoyable.'
In 1943 Richard diplayed his glove puppets and puppet heads at his old boarding school in Hertfordshire.
I made bases for puppet heads to be fixed to for the show being organised at Harpenden of work by past and present Georgians.
You can see all the examples we have of Richard's sculptural efforts on the 3D Works page.