A puppet play that would have featured a version of Punch was first recorded in England in May 1662, by the diarist Samuel Pepys. He noted seeing it in Covent Garden, performed by the Italian puppet showman Pietro Gimonde from Bologna, otherwise known as Signor Bologna:
‘Thence to see an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there,
which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw, and a great resort of gallants.’
Samuel Pepys Diary, 9 May 1662
Bologna was one of many entertainers who came to England from the continent following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Unlike today’s Punch and Judy performed with glove puppets in canvas booths with the audience outside, Bologna used marionettes - puppets with rods to their heads and strings or wires to their limbs – and performed within a transportable wooden shed, and as such would have been quite a novelty.