History is told through objects as much as words and documents. Few objects carry more emotional heft than the toys we played with as kids. This series of photographs by Andy Brown elegantly show us iconic playthings from the last 140 years.

The toys date from the 1870s to the 2000s. They were borrowed from various collections in the UK and photographed by Brown as a commission to decorate the walls of the Sheffield Children's Hospital.

What I like about Brown's photos is that each toy sits completely devoid of context, honoring the bare makeup of the object, and allowing each person's own associations and memories to seep in. And the fact that they are hung in a children's hospital, where so much human drama is being played out, provides an interesting contrast to the deadpan nature of the work.

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Check out Andy Brown's website for the full gallery. [It's Nice That]


Zoetrope reel, 1870s


Doll, 1870s


Noahs Ark figure, 1880s


Marbles, 1880s


Paper soldiers, 1890s


Clockwork toy, 1900s


Teddy bear, 1910s


Jigsaw puzzle, 1930s


Building set, 1940s


Action Man, 1960s


James bond car, 1960s


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, 1980s


Game Boy, 1990s


Tamagotchi, 1990s


Furby, 1990s


Lego Bionicles, 2000s