What is a Doll?

How long have we had this love affair with Dolls?

Pearls of Wisdom:

New World Dictionary describes a doll as - "a child's toy, puppet, marionette, etc. made to resemble a human being."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jane Austen's Regency Gentlewomen

Jane Austen wrote six novels published during the Regency period and between 1811 and 1818. The characters are not fabulously rich, but have a comfortable homelife and are wealthy enough to live virtually uninterrupted lives of leisure. Their roles are played out in the drawing room, the assembly room, the Parsonage or Rectory, the fashionable street for promenading, or the grounds of the country house.

Greer Garson and Sir Laurence Olivier as "Lizzie and Darcy" ca. 1940

Beautiful creations by Nancy Gerber.

Courtesy of Nancy Gerber's Atticbabys

The delicate, genteel in appearance, and demure Papier Mache dolls were intended for this market.
Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth as "Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy Colin" ca. 1995

Those sensible ladies of Jane Austen

They talk about fashion and taste, about acceptable manners and unacceptable behavior. Above all else, their conversation concentrates on thoughts of love and marriage. Their mothers despair for the lack of suitable suitors.

Her characters spend their time reading, writing letters, walking, riding, dancing, playing cards, listening to music and enjoying the art of conversation. Their conversation speaks of their own safe and comfortable society.

Surprisingly Regency women of this era have opinions and a knowledge of the facts of life that were denied to later Victorian women. It would be wrong to suggest that all people enjoyed the kind of lifestyle of Jane Austen's characters. Possibly well over half of Europe still lived in discomfort, working hard, living poorly, outside of fashionable clothing and often going to bed hungry.


  1. ¿Puedo comentar, my dear lady? Pleeease...? Can I? Ok! Great posts. Once again. I DO like your posts! Describes perfectamente lo que quieres contar, sin rodeos y de forma amena.
    Ya sabes que me interesa la moda. La moda en la Historia. I love those period movies. Siempre me ha llamado la atención el hecho de que los diseños de vestuario de la versión de Jane Austen de Greer Garson y Olivier, no tiene relación con las versiones actuales. ¿La moda real de la era de la novela, no les parecería suficiéntemente atractiva a los responsables de Hollywood? Es fasinante como se cuidan cada vez con más rigor histórico, las ambientaciones de época.
    I enjoied your posts!

  2. I forgot to say that I love de young gentleman doll!

  3. That is a good point Alberto. The mid 19th century comprised a lot of changes and were tumultuos years. Fashions were changing as well. The Empire dress from the Napoleon era was giving way to the Victorian era. It was not unusual to see both Empire style, and drop down waisted Regency dresses at the same time. But I agree that the 1940's version concentrated more on the ethereal and romantic feel of the characters in the story. And although the costumes were beautiful! As you pointed out, They weren't that meticuously concerned to be historically accurate, as they are now, as long as the characters looked beautiful.