The Wade “Whimsies” Nursery Favourites are as set of 24 Nursery Rhyme characters that were included with Red Rose Tea packages in the 60’s & 70’s. They were manufactured by Wade England and exclusively distributed to Canada. These figurines were collected by my Grandparents and I played with them when I visited their apartment as a child.
I rediscovered the Whimsies after the death of Grandfather. It had been years since I had visited their apartment and they were in the exact same drawer in the living room table they were kept in when I was a child! I don’t remember the games I played with the figurines; but the sound they made when I picked up the bag immediately transported me back in time to an era of shag rugs and velour sofas with a hint of smoke and baking cookies. It’s a unique sound, like the sound “big crock” marbles make when you shoot one into another to score the pot!
What I find fascinating about the Whimsies is how terrifying and bizarre they are when examined up close. The Nursery Favourites were manufactured from molds that were often retooled, (sometimes butchering the faces) and then they were hand painted. Some of my Whimsies look more like characters imagined for 21rst century horror movies that take place in a wax factory run by “mythical” people living in radiation zones! And then when you consider the subject matter of Nursery Rhymes, illicit affairs, fallen lords, terrorizing gingerbread men, fear of religious reformists (probably not true but suggested) and punishment in a pillory etc, they are appropriately strange under scrutiny.
My intent was to capture the essence of the figurines as I would if they were real people in my studio. They are a work in progress.