Art & Design Magazine

Pumpie - V&A Star

By Waynechisnall @WayneChisnall

Most of the mini oil paintings that I'm currently working on as part of my self-imposed painting challenge (originally to try and make 1000 paintings in a year, but now adjusted to 'as many as possible', so as to allow myself time to also work on my sculpture projects) are pulled from my imagination but when I came across a photo of a stuffed toy elephant, posted on Instagram by Jo Hackett, I knew that I had to do a quick oil sketch of him.
Pumpie - V&A Star
I worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum for fifteen years, and have known Jo, who is its head Textile Conservator, for a long time. When I saw her post about the toy elephant I was instantly struck by how much character it had but just took it for one of the many everyday projects (not there is ever really an 'everyday' situation or project at the V&A) that Jo was working on.

Pumpie - V&A Star

V&A Textile Conservator, Jo Hackett, working on antique toy elephant, 'Pumpie'

It wasn't until many weeks later when I came across the BBC TV series, 'Secrets of The Museum' (a behind the scenes look at the workings of the V&A Museum) that I realised that the toy elephant had a name, Pumpie, and that he is the star of episode 1.

Pumpie - V&A Star

V&A curator, Will Newton, handling 'Pumpie' on the BBC TV show, 'Secrets of The Museum'

For a further insights into Pumpie and his appearance on the show check out the V&A blog post, Can Elephants Get BAFTAs? My Televisual Adventure With Pumpie, by another one of my former colleagues, Will Newton.

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