We Can't Put Down This Delightfully Odd Book About Eggs and Clowns

This collection of wacky egg portraits has a fascinating history.
Publish date:

Looking for some out-of-the-box Easter egg decorating inspo? Check out The Clown Egg Register by Luke Stephenson and Helen Champion. This book showcases a 70-year-old collection of oddball eggs with colorful painted faces for Clowns International, the oldest established organization for clowns, based in England.

clown egg

This egg is based off of a clown named Will E. Droppit, a modern-day clown, still performing today.

Each egg portrait is based on a real clown and his or her signature look. Clowns often send in pieces of their actual wigs and costumes for authenticity. The portraits, which take about three days to complete, evolved from just faces to include details such hats, bow ties, and facial hair. The end result is a splendid (and sometimes creepy reproduction) of your best childhood memories (or worst nightmares). 

So how did this come about? What eventually started in 1946 as just a hobby for Stan Bult, founder of Clowns International, evolved into the formal documentation of the members’ costumes and makeup. So this fun practice started serving a practical purpose as a reference and copyright—apparently there's an unwritten rule that a clown should never copy another clown's makeup.

Bult used blown chicken eggs for his original paintings, but over the years, that fragile canvas resulted in many suffering damage. By the 1980s, this art form was revived using durable ceramic eggs to recreate some of the lost mini-clowns and start documenting the new ones in the organization. You can read more about the fascinating history in the book—we particularly loved the bit about a celebration of Joseph Grimaldi, the "Father of Clowning" who rose to fame in the early 1800s. Each year, an East London church hosts a service in his honor attended by a plethora of clowns – all in full costume. Do they all arrive in a tiny clown car?!  

The Clown Egg Registry showcases 150 of these 300 heads, most of which live at the Wookey Hole Clowns Museum in Somerset, England. Click through the gallery below to see some of our favorites from the book.