But to tell you the truth, the obsession went quiet for awhile- except for those reminders that are constantly left about the house by my eight year-old. It's only after having read Christine Trent's charming novel,
that my interest was once again peaked. Her book is all about a dollmaker's journey in the 18th c. There is so much detail on the whole process, such that it made this book a fascinating read for me.
So, I figured I'd look up one of my favourite doll books:
and enter it in the Art History Reading Challenge
Not only is this book extremely interesting, it's also filled with the most detailed photographs of dolls in history. Due to its rather large format, 14 x 10 approx., it's possible to relish in the most exquisite almost life size photos of the creations. There are so many photos of different periods in this book to satisfy any doll afficionado and art historian alike. A word of caution though, I believe this book to be superb in terms of photography, but the information does not appear to be thorough in terms of both historical accuracy and depth (I have found a few discrepancies). But- if you're willing to overlook this for the sake of completely abandoning and losing yourself in immense beauty in creation- this book is tops in terms of photography. Not only are the dolls fabulous, you have to see the dollhouses! Such incredible detail, especially in the Victorian homes.
And speaking of Victorian, did you know that Queen Victoria owned over 130 dolls and dressed about 30 of these on a regular basis (her governess dressed the rest;)
In this book I found this precious queen Victoria doll: (click to enlarge..she's gorgeous!)
This one was actually created by the Pierotti family (This family even makes an appearance in (The Queen’s Dollmaker). Domenico Pierotti came from Italy and supposedly when he once went to England for a visit, he had such a bad trip going that he decided to settle there rather than make the trip back to Italy. Whatever the case, it's from then on, in England in late 18th c, that this Italian family would become renouned for their wax dolls.
Here is another of the Pierotti Family creations appearing in this book: (again, click to enlarge:)
In the early 19thc, Napoleon Montanari, born in (where else would someone with a name like that be born..) Corsica, set up shop in England with his British wife, Augusta. They too became renouned for their real-life dolls- yet extremely expensive. So much so that Madame Montanari had a few rag dolls also created in order to satisfy the tastes and pockets of the proletariat.
Here is a photo of a Montanari doll taken from the Victoriana Site,
Credit going to: Debrasdolls.com
Everyone can attest to the beauty of wax dolls, yet in the 18th c or earlier, it was wooden dolls that stole the show. And, yes, in fact, Marie Antoinette really did love dolls. There is apparently a doll at the Salisbury and South Museum that reportedly belonged to Marie Antoinette while she was imprisoned.
Of all the wooden dolls I've ever read about or seen, I believe the most famous and beatifully detailed, withstanding the test of time are most definitely Lord and Lady Clapham- made in the late 17th -early 18th c:
So, as you can see this whole dollmaking business has really enraptured my senses. I've since been looking up sites on all sorts of dollmaking aspects. I've come across a few I'd like to share with you. Go check these out if you have a minute- I promise you will be thrilled with these artists' creations..