Margaret Ann Gildart Jackson better known as Ann Hogarth was born in 1910 and was a leading British puppeteer. She and her husband Jan Bussell (Hogarth Puppets) toured the world. She was best known for her puppet Muffin the Mule, which was one of the first stars of early BBC television in the 1940s and 1950s. Muffin the Mule, made by Fred Tickner in 1934, enjoyed a long television life of its own in a BBC series which ran from 1946-1954, for which Ann Hogarth operated the marionettes (string puppets) and Annette Mills played the piano on which Muffin and his friends performed.
Ann trained as a secretary before studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her qualification got her the job of stage manager at the Players' Theatre in London where she met her future business partner and husband, Jan Bussell in 1932. He had a lifetime interest in model theatres and had persuaded John Logie Baird to televise one of his puppet productions the year before he and Hogarth created "The Hogarth Puppetts". Hogarth married Bussell in 1933. They had puppets made including the mule made by Fred Tickner. Their repertoire included operetta, dance, poetry, Shakespeare and variety.
The Hogarths welcomed other puppeteers to their home when they were not touring in Australia or Canada. They created life size puppets of The Water Babies for a production at the Glynebourne Theatre. These puppets later appeared in Australia and they, together with arts grants, are credited with inspiring other puppet productions in the 1960s and 1970s. Ann Hogarth is the author of several books: Muffin Stories (London, Brockhampton Press, c.1950); Look at Puppets (London, Hamish Hamilton, 1960); Fanfare for Puppets, with Jan Bussell (Newton Abbott, David and Charles, 1985); she directed the publication of Muffin Annuals (London, London University Press, 1951-1954).
Sadly Ann passed away on April 9th. 1993