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Bonzo by R. John Wright

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by R. John Wright


We are excited to bring you R. John Wright's Bonzo™ - the famous dog character created by talented artist George E. Studdy in 1922.

Bonzo, the small, sleepy-looking dog first introduced in 'The Sketch' magazine, attracted huge audiences of both adults and children. Bonzo's image and exploits spilled over from the pages of the magazine into more areas of popular culture than any other cartoon hero before him. In addition to his regular appearance in the publication, Studdy's irresistible little doggy starred in many books for children, as well as hundreds of attractive full-color postcards. His image thrived in an enormous variety of spin-off products, which included games, puzzles, toys, figurines and countless household items. His appealing likeness was also used in advertisements to promote an array of products and services. During those decades between the first and second World Wars, Bonzo was unrivaled in Britain as the most popular cartoon character of his time. By 1927, the year Walt Disney first introduced Mickey Mouse, Bonzo was already a firm favorite in America.

The premier edition of Bonzo from R. John Wright is based closely on the original Studdy drawings from the late 20s and early 30s. He is made of all wool felt with molded details, hand-painted features and airbrushed coloration. Standing approximately 11 inches tall, Bonzo is five-way jointed for full poseability. Bonzo wears a blue custom-made leather collar with a brass buckle. No detail has been spared to create the definitive version of this beloved comic character! 

Bonzo will be produced in a limited edition of just 250 pieces worldwide. He is a fully-licensed character and will include a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity and forms for owner registration. BONZO™ by George E. Studdy © Copyright2016 Gresham Licensing, Ltd.

Bonzo: The Steiff Connection
& Other Points Of Interest

Like many of our projects, there is a Steiff connection. Bonzo was a licensing sensation in the 1920's and the Steiff company vied with other leading toy manufacturers to be given a chance to produce him. Samples were made and submitted in 1927, but Bonzo's creator, George Studdy, did not like Steiff's rendition. Instead, he chose the Chad Valley company in the UK to produce Bonzo.

Decades later, in 2002, one of the elusive Steiff prototype samples appeared at auction and fetched the highest price ever for a 'non-teddy' Steiff. This created a lot of interest and in 2009 Steiff released a replica edition of their original Bonzo design.

All this compelled us to try our hand at making a Bonzo ourselves.

 The early plush manufacturers, including Steiff, used a combination of printing and sewing to evoke the Bonzo illustrations. Because of our experience sculpting and molding we are able to bring a heightened 3rd dimension to Bonzo - something that's never been done before in plush. The Studdy drawings themselves are filled with personality and we worked hard to capture that in our design. Bonzo's creator, G. E. Studdy was an excellent draftsman, it's obvious that he referenced real-dog anatomy in drawing Bonzo. We referred to his artwork at every stage of the design process.

 Looking over the merchandise produced over the years, there are several figurines or sculptural renditions of Bonzo which are quite good. However, in the realm of plush many of the sculptural details are missing. Our hope is that through ingenuity and artistry we can bring together the dimensionality of the sculpted pieces with the cuddly warmth of the vintage stuffed animals.

- JW


Special offers for Bonzo

  • $25 RJW Bonus Dollars
  • Free Shipping over $99 w/code FREESHIP

by R. John Wright

Size Height : 11 inches
Edition Limited Edition
Edition Size : 250
Materials All-Wool Felt
Features Airbrushed Accents
Jointing Number of Joints : 5
Authenticity Officially Licensed
Includes Certificate of Authenticity
Age Appropriate Collectible, Not Intended For Children
Country of Origin United States

The Toy Shoppe Has Offered R. John Wright Creations For Over Three Decades

R. John Wright and Susan WrightThe Toy Shoppe has had the pleasure of offering the work of R. John Wright since 1979. When Danny Shapiro, the founder of The Toy Shoppe, first saw John and Susan's work he was impressed with the great charm and fine craftsmanship exhibited. Each piece created by R. John Wright continues to display the virtuosity of the artist when considering fine and original design, beautiful craftsmanship and the use of beautiful materials of exceptional quality. As work of this nature can only be produced in small quantities, each piece is all the more special.

Originality Of Design

Every great object begins with fine design. John and Susan often take their inspiration from famous illustrations found in the classic children's books which they love. What is most impressive is that each piece created from these illustrations remains true to the original artwork: two dimensional illustrations brought to life in three dimensions exactly as we expect them to be. They become the definitive interpretation of our favorite childhood characters. The Wright's designs are also inspired by nature. The realism with which they create their bears, mice and other animals is matched only by their ability to introduce rich character and personality in them without resorting to caricaturish extremism.

Inspired By The Classics

Established in 1976, R. John Wright has produced work based on the most famous illustrations of all time, including Ernest Shepherd's Winnie-the-Pooh, Jessie Wilcox Smith's storybook characters, Johnny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann and Andy, Walt Disney's Classics, Palmer Cox's Brownies, Saint Exupery's The Little Prince, Beatrix Potter's animal kingdom, Rose O'Neill's Kewpie, Michael Bond's Paddington and Sir John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland... and the list continues to grow today with their new Peter Pan series!

Fine Craftsmanship

R. John Wright The Little Prince dollsIn our opinion, the making of an heirloom piece requires a marriage of fine design and quality craftsmanship. Poor manufacturing can shatter an artist's fine design. The RJW Workshop employs a unique process to address this. After designing an edition, John and Susan oversee every step of production at their workshop in Vermont ensuring each piece lives up to their artistic vision. Under their watchful eyes, a highly skilled team of trained artisans puts each limited edition into production, detailing and finishing these treasures by hand. Due to the complexity of their original designs, John and Susan must often develop innovative techniques to insure that the edition remains consistent and uniform throughout production: the first piece in the edition must be as wonderful and charming as the final one. Technically speaking, as amazing and delightful as the early R. John Wright creations were, the newer pieces are far more complex. Today’s RJW designs are now brought to life in a way that they never could have been done 20 years ago.

Each accessory that comes with an R. John Wright creation is also of original design. John and Susan are not content to merely use an existing object as an accessory. When the object cannot be created in their workshop due to the material or specialized skills desired, the company works with master craftsmen in their respective fields to custom make the final pieces.

We believe that these factors have been important in contributing to the already established higher value of earlier R. John Wright work.

Heirloom Quality Toys

At The Toy Shoppe, we believe that true collectibility is earned by the maker's dedication and commitment to design, craftsmanship and material usage. Rarity is naturally implied, as work of this nature cannot be mass-produced. The market has already well recognized the collectible nature of the work by R. John Wright. We believe this will easily continue to be the case.

Today, John and Susan continue to create and innovate with delightful felt dolls, bears, mice and many other characters at their workshop in Bennington, Vermont in the United States.

see more by R. John Wright

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