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, May 25, 2010

Queen Victoria: Wife, Mother and Widow (part four Victorian Era)

In Her Own Words:

“My name is Victoria and I have been Queen of England for over sixty-three years. I became queen in 1837 at eighteen years of age upon the death of my uncle, William IV, King of England.
After my coronation in 1837, many people in England were not happy. Many people say that I have a rather strict and formal personality., a sharp temper, and a very stubborn attitude for getting done what I want done. To all of this I say. "Really"? These very qualities they dislike are absolutely necessary for a ruler to possess. I am now eight-one years, and I feel that I have done an excellent job as queen. The empire doubled in size during my reign and the people of the world are much better off because of it.”

Victoria ascended the throne at a time when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the king or queen held relatively few direct political powers and exercised influence by the prime minister's advice; but she still served as a very important symbolic figure of her time.

Wax likeness of Princess Alice

Victoria never lost her early passion for Albert: "Without him everything loses its interest"

Prince Albert as a father was a strict disciplinarian, and in Queen Victoria's eyes he could do no wrong, as she stated in a letter to her oldest son Albert Edward:…None of you can ever be proud enough of being the child of such a father who has not his equal in this world - so great, so good, so faultless.

Despite conflicts produced by the queen's recurrent fits of depression, which usually occurred during and after pregnancy, the couple had a happy marriage. Victoria, however, was never reconciled to the childbearing that accompanied her marital bliss — the "shadow-side of marriage," as she called it.

Queen Victoria with Prince Arthur

Queen Victoria wearing "The Diamond Fringe Tiara" a graduated circle of diamonds made in 1830. It was inherited by Queen Mary when she married in 1910. It was then inherited in 1937 by her daughter-in-law Queen Elizabeth, "The Queen Mother." She in turn gave it to her daughter as (something borrowed) Queen Elizabeth 2nd for her wedding to Philip. Queen Elizabeth then loaned it again to Princess Anne in 1973 for her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips..

Painting by Sir Edwin Landseer

A visible sign of the prince's power and influence was the building of the royal residences of Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, and Balmoral Castle in Scotland where she was the happiest. The royal pair and their family were able to live there with the greatest ease. The royal couple's withdrawal to Scotland bore witness to a new sort of British monarchy.

Princess Louise, "The Duchess of Argyll," painted by Queen Victoria from a miniature portrait.

First photograph taken of Queen Victoria with her eldest daughter Victoria ca. 1844

Wax Figure of Princess Louise, Grandaughter of Queen Victoria ca. 1888

Albert wasn't popular among the British people, and he wasn't granted the title of Prince Consort until 1857, but his influence probably helped avert war between Britain and the United States after he intervened during a diplomatic row in the autumn of 1861.

This regal English poured wax portrait doll of Queen Victoria sold for $1,700 against her pre-sale estimate of $1,200/$1,600. She is circa 1860 in her original gown. She is from the Estrid Faurholt collection, which became the "nucleus of the Legoland Museum.

Prince Albert, Queen Victoria and their nine children. Left to right : Alice, Arthur, The Prince Consort, The Prince of Wales, Leopold ( in front of him), Louise, Queen Victoria with Beatrice, Alfred, Victoria and Helena.

In their quest for privacy and intimacy Albert and Victoria adopted a way of life that mirrored that of their middle-class subjects, admittedly on a grander scale. She enjoyed the novels of Charles Dickens and patronized the circus and waxwork exhibitions.

"Mrs Brown" Judy Dench as Queen Victoria ca. 1997

Perhaps the most famous quote attributed to Queen Victoria is,

"We are not amused"

The term "Victorian often refers to a priggish attitude toward sexuality or morality, though is also applied widely to refer to a period of literature, art, clothing and even architecture.

Queen Victoria by Artist Victoria " Lady of Finavon Historic Dolls"
Beautiful figure of Queen Victoria by Artist Victoria " Lady of Finavon Historic Dolls"

Queen Victoria Paper Dolls
Prince Albert (1819-1861)

Prince Albert's health was always poor: in November 1861 he contracted typhoid fever, and his death a month Later at the age of 42 left Queen Victoria devastated.
"He was King in all but name."- Queen Victoria describing her late husband.

For many years after Albert’s death Victoria lived in relative seclusion, which alienated her from her subjects.
She continued to wear the black of mourning for the rest of her life, which no doubt contributed to her reputation of being stern and humorless. .

Queen Victoria with Princess Beatrice of Battenburg, ca. 1861

She is now no more—no more? Nay, I boldly say she lives—lives in the hearts of her subjects; lives in the pages of history. And as the ages revolve, as her pure profile stands more marked against the horizon of time, the verdict of posterity will ratify the judgment of those who were her subjects. She ennobled mankind; she exalted royalty; the world is better for her life.

"Sir, the Queen is no more; let us with one heart say, Long live the King!"

The Times January 23, 1901
Our beloved Queen has passed to her Rest

"The dreaded blow has fallen, and a world-wide Empire mourns its irreparable loss. Our beloved Queen, full of years and honour, has passed to her rest. There are no words to express the general grief, the universal sense of national and personal bereavement, awakened by the event which it is our melancholy duty to chronicle today."

She died there from a cerebral hemorrage on Tuesday 22 January 1901 at half past six in the evening, at the age of 81. At her deathbed she was attended by her son, the future King. She was dressed in a white dress and her wedding veil, and the coffin was draped with the Royal Standard that had been flying at Osborne House.

The death of Queen Victoria and the succession of her son, Edward, marked the start of a new century and the end of the Victorian Era. QueenVictoria was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son King Edward the VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dolls of the 19th century..The Dawning of Porcelain (part 3 Victorian era)

During the Victorian era and into the early 20th century the history of dolls was connected with the lives of the middle class and wealthy children who would have owned them. Its my purpose in creating this blog to portray dolls which mark the stages of developing history. But regrettably, of the Victorian period, only a few items remain from the rag and bone toy box of the very poor. Underprivileged children of the time, were forced to make do with whatever lay at hand; A mutton bone, wrapped in a rag, would make a much loved doll for a poor child.
As doll-making art is predominantly from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, these dolls are the more procurable by collectors. Mass production methods were becoming commonplace by the end of the century, so a large number of dolls of all different types were surfacing at the same time.
In this post I will show only samples of China, and Bisque including the beautiful French Bebes, and Fashion Dolls. All of these dolls will be covered individually in later chapters including their makers.
For now, my objective is to show that these dolls were available at the time of Queen Victoria’s reign, but only to the very wealthy.


Wax Dolls

In addition to wooden dolls, wax dolls were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, and they were also a contemporary of the papier mâché doll. . Munich was a major manufacturing center for wax dolls, although the earliest wax dolls found by collectors tend to be the poured wax dolls made in England. This was after the demise of the wooden doll industry from 1840 through the remainder of the 19th century. Although pressed wax dolls were made before this time for the very wealthy.

Beautiful "Pierotti Poured Wax Child Doll" ca. 19th century

English Poured Wax early 19th century

French Wax Infant Doll mid 19th century

Family of Queen Victoria by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

The Young Queen Victoria became a symbol of the 1840’s subdued and dove-colored decade. She spent her time most domestically filling the palaces with nurseries. It was in this quiet and rather dowdy atmosphere that the early porcelain dolls made their debut.

China Heads

Porcelain became popular at the beginning of the 19th century. Its a name used generically to refer to both china and bisque dolls. China is glazed, whereas bisque is unglazed. Dolls are named after the variety of hairstyles they wore--be it a "Covered Wagon" style (hair flat on top with sausage curls around the head, 1840s), an "Alice in Wonderland" (molded head band, 1850s) or the "Dolly Madison" (curls all over and a molded ribbon)--whatever was fashionable at a certain time.China heads were replaced by heads made of bisque in the 1860s.

Conta Boheme China doll ca. 1870. Elaborately styled hair. Wears hand-sewn lawn white dress with antique lace.

Kestner China Doll with "Covered Wagon" hairstyle from my own collection... ca. 1860. Original antique dress, original cloth body with individually stitched fingers.
Germany, France and Denmark started creating china heads dolls in the 1840's they are often identified by their hairstyles.

Hertle and Schwab China Doll "Lowbrow Hairstyle" ca. 1890

Child portrait with a "Lowbrow "China head doll ca. 19th century

Parian Dolls

If there is no color added to the bisque and it is left white and unglazed, the doll is sometimes referred to as a "Parian" doll.

Alt Beck Gottschalk...Lady Parian with Blue Scarf. Antique lace dress, pierced ears ca. 1880

Baby Stuart by Gebruder Heubach ca. 1910. Molded white bonnet, original white organdy gown.

Elegant Alt Beck Gottschalk Lady Parian ca. 1880

German and French Bisque Dolls:

The best known group of antique dolls are the German and French bisque dolls. Bisque, which is fired twice with color added to it after the first firing, looked more like skin than china.

Simon and Halbig on a K*R composition body

Beautiful Kestner Doll ca. 19th century

These dolls were produced from the 1840s until after World War I, with the amount of production and number of manufacturers increasing significantly around 1860.

K*R Doll, Simon and Halbig bisque head
Sunday Visit...German Bisque Doll

Victorian Girl Portrait ca. 19th century

The French Fashion Doll:

The years from 1860 through 1890 were dominated by fashion dolls. These dolls were made to represent ladies, and they were dressed in exquisite, elaborate reproductions of current fashions.

Collection of French Fashion Dolls from the Carmel Doll Shop

Bru French Fashion with a wood body courtesy of Thierault

Victorian French Fashions...by Huret, Jumeau and Bru

The French Bebe:

The "bebe" was popular in the 1880s, and it has become a highly sought after doll today. The bebe, first made in the 1850s, was unique from its predecessors because it depicted a younger girl. Until then, most dolls were representations of adults.

French Bebes...Bru and Jumeau

Young Girl and Her Doll...Emile Mullier

...with Bru doll

Asian Dolls Vignette by Bru... French Bebes ca. 19th century

Stunning Bru Bebe, notice the huge almond shape eyes. Jumeau and Bru dolls are noted for their beautiful faces. ca. 19th century French Bebe.

Bebe Jumeau ca. 1880

Remple and Breitung, Sonnenberg Germany ca.1890

Eventually, Bébés would overtake fashion dolls in popularity, and would lead to their demise. French Bébés, made by the master doll makers Jumeau, Bru, Steiner, Rohmer and others would have their ascendancy from the 1860s to the 1880s, followed by the German doll makers, who basically took over the industry with their quality, but lower priced products in the 1890s.