Humpty Dumpty and the Cravat: Porcelains and Peacocks Celebrates One Year

Porcelains and Peacocks celebrates one year with an unbirthday. The word was coined by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) in Through the Looking Glass when Humpty Dumpty wears a cravat that was given to him as an "urn-birthday" present. Alice is shown with Humpty in the 1955 illustration by Roberta Paflin. Cravats are believed to have originated in seventeenth century Croatia. The earliest visual recording of the fashion is a 1622 portrait of the Baroque Croatian poet Ivan Gundulić (1589 - 1636). Humpty-Dumpty of the nursery rhyme was actually the nickname of a large cannon that figured in the English Civil War (1642-1649). The Royalist fort of Colchester was protected by the cannon which was positioned on a high wall. During the siege by the Parliamentarians the wall was damaged and Humpty Dumpty fell to the ground. The Royalists, "All the King's Men" tried to raise the cannon to another part of the wall but it was too heavy and they could not put Humpty-Dumpty together again. American W. W. Denslow depicted the rhyme in his 1901 Mother Goose.