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."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Edward Albert...Son and Heir Apparent

Socially, the Edwardian era was a period during which the British class system was very rigid. It is seen as the last period of the English country house. Economic and social changes created an environment in which there was more social mobility. Such changes included rising interest in socialism, attention to the plight of the poor and the status of women, including the issue of women’s suffrage, together with increased economic opportunities as a result of rapid industrialization. These changes were to be hastened in the aftermath of the first World War.

Harrods ca. 1906

Bertie grew to became a short, stout man with the same weak chin as his mother which he disguised with a beard. He was perhaps best known for a series of amorous liaisons, which his mother did not approve of. The most commonly known of his mistresses were Lily Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt and Alice Keppel. (Great grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles) Edward possessed an infectious gaiety and joie de vivre. He loved horse racing and the theatre.

Princess Alexandra of Denmark and her sister Dagmar by Elizabeth Jerchau Baumann ca.1856

In December 1861, the Prince Consort died from typhoid two weeks after visiting the Prince of Wales at Cambridge. The Queen, who was inconsolable and wore mourning for the rest of her life, blamed the Prince of Wales for his father's death. She regarded him as frivolous, indiscreet, and completely unsuitable to undertake any responsibility. As a result he was largely excluded from political power and was denied an active role in the running of the country. Edward was only allowed to represent the Queen at state occasions and gatherings, and thus he came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite. He became a leader of London society, spending his time, drinking, gambling, Horse racing and sailing.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, composed an ode in 1863 in honor of the Danish Princess,.

"A Welcome to Alexandra "

Sea-kings’ daughter from over the sea, Alexandra!
Saxon and Norman and Dane are we.
But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee, Alexandra!
Blissful bride of a blissful heir, Bride of the heir of the kings of the sea—
O joy to the people and joy to the throne, Come to us, love us, and make us your own:
For Saxon or Dane or Norman we, Teuton or Celt, or whatever we be,
We are each all Dane in our welcome of thee, Alexandra!

Shortly after the Prince Consort's death, Queen Victoria arranged for her son to marry Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the stunningly beautiful elder daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and his wife, the former Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel. Alix, as she was affectionately called by her family, was selected as a suitable bride for the Prince of Wales and vetted by Queen Victoria. On meeting her for the first time Bertie wrote back to his mother "I can now candidly say that I thought her charming and very pretty." Alexandra arrived in London in March 1863, her arrival and the rapturous welcome she received from the British public, went some way to lift the "Royal Gloom " that hung over Windsor Castle, after Albert’s untimely death.

Godeys Fashion embroidery ca. 1863

"Royal Hunt Cup Day at The Ascot"

The Danish Princess was far more popular and cheered more loudly than the Prince of Wales..... a pattern that was to reoccur decades later when Diana married another Prince of Wales in another era.

Edward and Alexandra

Bertie and Alix, as Princess Alexandra was familiarly known, became leaders of the British society life that made them popular and re-established the prestige the monarchy had lost because of the Queen's seclusion.

From Le Maison Jumeau

18-1/4" Jumeau fashion, size 4, with a lovely pale bisque head, exquisite spiral threaded pale blue glass eyes in extra-large eye-cuts, pierced ears with pearl earrings, and a pretty mohair wig in a lovely shade of strawberry blonde.On the classic, gusseted French leather body with individually stitched and wired fingers theblushing bride is dressed to the nines in a classic, trained, cream brocade wedding ensemble, complete with a bouquet and tulle veil. Lovely floral accents are scattered upon the dress.

Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra were married in 1863, in St George’s Chapel Windsor and “Alix”, as she was called in the family, began her very long role (1863-1901) as Princess of Wales. With her grace and charm she was feted and cheered wherever she went and almost effortlessly became a leader of fashion and society.

"The Delineator, A Summer Evening"

Gaudinot-Popineau. … Details include cobalt glass eyes in large eye cuts, delicate painting including beautifully blushed cheeks, and her marvelous original deep brunette human hair wig worn in an elegant style.On a sturdy leather body and with the original pink tint visible mostly on the torso, she wears a lovely two-piece ensemble of cream satin with monochromatic detailing in the way of fine lace and bows. Antique leather boots and fine underthings complete the presentation of this cabinet ready doll.

Alexandra and daughter Maude

Soon children began to arrive for the Wales couple; The first child, Albert Victor Christian Edward known to the family as Eddy was born in 1864. A year and a half later, on June 3, 1865, another boy was born to the Prince and Princess of Wales, this time at Marlborough House. The boy was named George. He was followed by three daughters: Louise, on February 20, 1867, Victoria on June 6 1868 and Maud, on November 26, 1869. Bertie and Alix adored and spoiled their children, which greatly displeased the Queen. Any effort was not enough to please the Wales children and to make them happy

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

A Portrait Jumeau fashion from the Pierre Jumeau era, who stands an impressive twenty-one inches tall. Classic Jumeau features include a perfect bisque head and shoulderplate – the head with "dewy-bisque" and exquisite coloring, cobalt blue glass eyes with threading, pierced-through ears, and even her original wig in blonde mohair, that is styled in a lovely chignon.On a commercially made cloth body, she is one of the unusual models that is fitted with arms that terminate in china "Kintzbach hands" referring to the body style which was patented in 1869 by American, Martin Kintzbach. Lillie Bell is certainly wealthy when it comes to clothing and accessories. Her trousseau includes a selection of fashions and accessories that any lady would envy. Lillie Bell comes with things that tell us she was deeply loved.

During this period, Alexandra was strongly overshadowed by her mother-in-law, Victoria, the Queen of England. Alexandra seems to have been closer and more familiar with her children and her servants than was typical in the highest English social circles, and this may have resulted in some friction between the Queen and her daughter-in-law.

Seated: Princess May of Teck (future Queen Mary), holding Prince Albert
(future George VI), and Queen Victoria.
Standing: Prince George, (future George V), and Edward Albert, Prince of Wales. (Future Edward VII)

Film was in its early days and audiences preferred live performances to picture shows. Music Halls were very popular and widespread. The theatre was marked by the rise of the New Drama, or plays by George Bernard Shaw.
Considered one of the very first music halls, the Canterbury Hall – as it was originally called – was built in 1852 by Charles Morton in Lambeth. It proved so successful that he was able to replace it in 1854 and called it Canterbury Music Hall, seating about 1500 people.
Famous people who frequented the building were: The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Teck. Charlie Chaplin had performed there, and also had mentioned seeing his father perform there.

He also smoked thirteen large cigars and twenty-two cigarettes a day and had an insatiable appetite, but he was good natured and easy going with a ready smile. He was affable and approachable in a way that his mother never was.

In 1882, their two eldest sons, Jack the Ripper suspect, and Duke of Clarence Albert Victor and Prince George Frederick Ernest Albert (later King George V), who were serving as midshipmen on HMS Bacchante

The Three Daughters of King Edward and Queen Alexandra by Sydney Prior Hall

Two Royal brothers "Albert Victor, and George"

Alexandra Princess of Denmark

During the birth of her third child in 1867, the added complication of a bout of rheumatic fever threatened Alexandra's life, leaving her with a permanent limp. Biographers agree that their marriage was in many ways a happy one; however, some have asserted that Albert Edward did not give his wife as much attention as she would have liked and that they gradually became estranged, until his attack of typhoid fever (the disease which was believed to have killed his father) in late 1871 brought about a reconciliation. Nevertheless, Edward was severely criticized from many quarters of society for his apparent lack of interest in her very serious illness, and for continuing throughout their marriage, to keep company with other women,

A classically beautiful Jumeau Parisienne is a wonderful thing, indeed.Measuring eighteen inches tall, this early Jumeau, in desirable size 4, possesses a perfect bisque shoulderplate attached to a perfect swivel head with exquisite painting and pale coloring, mesmerizing pale gray eyes, pierced-through ears and a marvelous light brown mohair wig.On a desirable articulated wooden body with the original finish, (some flaking to lower legs) it allows countless poses!The marvelous two-piece ensemble the doll is wearing reminds us of an adult size costume, re-created in miniature, due to its styling and exceptional detail. Crisp antique under things and artist-created leather ankle boots complete her presentation.

Four generations

Albert Edward, Alexandra and Queen Victoria

Edward the VII of England

Victoria, true to the Hanoverian name, saw the worst in Edward. She and Albert imposed a strict regime upon Edward, who proved resistant and resentful throughout his youth. His marriage at age twenty-two to Alexandra afforded him some relief from his mother's domination, but even after Albert's death in 1863, Victoria consistently denied her son any official governmental role. Edward rebelled by completely indulging himself in women, food, drink, gambling, sport and travel. Alexandra turned a blind eye to his extramarital activities, which continued well into his sixties and found him implicated in several divorce cases.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Regal Beauty of Parian Dolls

The Kestner porcelain company belonged to those few that created the most outstanding doll heads, It is not to be assumed that these heads were manufactured by a small and insignificant porcelain factory. Most of the heads in this post are from the Borgfedlt collection...Lydia Richter

Kestner shoulder head with modelled ornament comb, and extravagantly painted blouse with modelled collar, frills and bow. Blue glass eyes and feathery eyebrows, closed mouth with contour and red dividing line ca. 1880

Until today, it was not definite who in Europe the first to manufacture porcelain doll heads was. The Royal Porcelain Manufacture (KPM) Meissen was one of the earliest producers. Initially the first dolls were produced as byproducts and only test models. At that time, Meissen made porcelain dishware and extravagant artistic porcelain.
In eighteen forty, the first porcelain doll heads were produced commercially. Meissen produced head with elegant lady faces which differed from the later little girl doll faces.

Bisque shoulder head attributed to "Kestner", modelled costume hood, three rowed gold colored necklaceand blouse upper part with bows, characteristic Kestner's one stroke eyebrows, closed mouth with dark red dividing line, ca. 1885

Bisque shoulder head attributed to "Kestner", modelled bonnet with flower trimming and bow. ca.1885

Often frills and flowers were added to the dolls. Yet they weren’t called proper toy dolls and not suitable for children. They were still ornamental porcelain that pleased the eye. Some small children were given these dolls as presents. The precious doll was kept safe until the child had attained the right age and necessary maturity to appreciate the doll. As a result, many of these dolls remain today.

The ladies home sewing companion - a parian pincushion doll

" Dresden Gentleman"

Alt, Beck and Gottschalk ca. 1870

ABG "Empress Augusta" a portrait doll.. bisque shoulder head with modelled on jewelry, modelled blouse upper part with blue stripe (also found in pink) modelled black cross
Ca. 1880 Thuringia Germany

Child posing with "Limbach" stone bisque doll with modelled bonnet
wax and cloth body with celluloid forearms... ca. early 1900

"Kestner" China Head with flat top hair style

By 1850 manufactures began to realize that porcelain heads with all of their beauty and strong glossiness seemed unnatural and were thus not perfect. They directed their attention towards an especially fine, white, dull, and transparent type of porcelain: which was called Parian.

Lowbrow style china shoulder heads, possibly Hertwig..late 1800's

Alt, Bech and Gottschalck parian "Highland Mary" ca. 1870

Beautiful and demure Parian child...unknown manufacturer

The English developed the first parian-ware in the 1840s, and exhibited parian-ware figures at the London International Exhibition in 1851. These figures proved to be very popular, inspiring the Germans to develop their own version of parian porcelain. Soon the many competing German Thuringian companies began making doll heads and limbs in the unglazed white porcelain bisque. They found that they could achieve a higher degree of detail in the modeling than had been possible with the glazed china pieces. Therefore parian dolls can be found with more elaborate hairstyles and in greater variety than the glazed china dolls. There were so many porcelain factories in Thuringia, that it is often very difficult to tell which company made a specific doll. They copied each other's popular models, and employees drifted back and forth between factories.

Alt, Beck and Gottschalk ca. 1870

Parian with Dresden decorations..unknown manufacturer. Ca. late 1800's

"Simon and Halbig" Parian Lady ca, 1860

Parian nurse maid and child; doll house dolls ca. 1880

" Little mothers playing house"

Beautiful "Kling" shoulder head made from bisque porcelain; blue paperweight glass eyes, leather body with bisque forearms ca. 1880

"The Dresden Gentleman" Dornheim, Koch and Fischer...parian shouder head, hair
styled modelled as a young cavalier...ca. 1865
Young lady made of bisque porcelain C.F. Kling...Thuringia, Germany, ca. 1880

The period of the exquisite Parian dolls was quite short because they were still not suitable for child’s play. In addition, their white marble skin color was unnatural so the porcelain was painted flesh-like tone and then was not called Parian but bisque.
Many Parian dolls are around today because owners knew of their fragility and kept them safe. Children could only play with them as they matured. That is a good thing. I believe these dolls were some of the most beautiful dolls produced.