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A Pinhead for H. H.

"A Pinhead for H. H." is copyright  1998 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

pen and ink drawing, 9.5 x 7.5 inches, 1998
Private collection

The subject of this painting is based on a portrait by Hans Holbein. However, the subject here is not some member of the court of Henry VIII but rather a cheerful microcephalic, or "pinhead" as they are known in show lingo.

Pinheads were often favorite and staple performers on the sideshow circuit for their diminutive size, strange appearance, and child-like manner. The tiny cranium was accentuated by shaving the head and leaving a small tuft of hair at the top a look that was later adopted by Bert of Sesame Street. Several pinheads were featured as characters in director Tod Browning's infamous film Freaks (1932). The most famous of these performers was Schlitzie, who worked on the sideshow platform well into his seventies.

This pinhead wears a charming rabbit-bedecked frock as an homage to the squirrel held by the sitter in Holbein's painting. I tried a squirrel pattern at first, but somehow the bunnies seemed more fitting.


[To see more drawings from this series, please visit the Prodigies website at missionCREEP.com]


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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2005