The Moore Simpkiss Collection of Famous Clown Heads

Eric Moore and Vera Simpkiss1971

Time and Tide Museum

Time and Tide Museum
Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom

The collection came about following a chance meeting in 1971
between three avid circus enthusiasts, Gordon and Vera Simkiss
and Eric Moore all from Blackpool. After giving Eric a lift home
he showed them some clowns faces he had painted on hens eggs.
The quality of the artwork was outstanding reflecting Eric’s former
career as a graphic artist, and greatly impressed Gordon and Vera.
Vera, a skilled seamstress said she thought she could help by making
wigs and costumes for the four existing eggs, if Eric would like
her to try. The results complimented the quality of the existing
work and thereafter a working trio was established. The collection,
depicting internationally famous artistes, gradually expanded to
over 100 during a period of 14 years until Vera died in November
1977. Although originally, the collection was created using boiled
hens eggs, they were very fragile and many repairs and replacements
had to be made, resulting in an early decision to have a mould made
to ensure a uniform size and to enable Gordon to cast the eggs in
surgical plaster. Eric died in 1998 but Gordon and his second wife
Joyce continued showing the eggs all over the UK with Gordon
continuing after Joyce passed away in 2001 right up until his own
death in 2012.

The egg collection has achieved much fame and recognition during
its lifetime and is the original collection of its type, with attempts
to establish other similar collections having been made in recent
years. The collection remains unique however, in that it depicts
professional clowns only.

On the death of Gordon the collection was bequeathed to his long
standing friend and circus enthusiast John Exton, who sought to
ensure that as many people as possible were able to enjoy the high
quality of work that has created this unique collection and he has
placed the collection on long term loan with the Great Yarmouth
Hippodrome Circus Museum.


  • Title: The Moore Simpkiss Collection of Famous Clown Heads
  • Creator: Eric Moore, Vera Simpkiss
  • Date Created: 1971

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