Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime

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.

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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

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime

Doll, 1870s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Noahs Ark figure, 1880s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Marbles, 1880s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Paper soldiers, 1890s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Clockwork toy, 1900s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Teddy bear, 1910s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Jigsaw puzzle, 1930s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Building set, 1940s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Action Man, 1960s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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James bond car, 1960s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, 1980s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Game Boy, 1990s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Tamagotchi, 1990s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Furby, 1990s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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Lego Bionicles, 2000s

Illustration for article titled 16 Classic Toys That Trace More Than a Century of Playtime
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