A Journey for Miss Ruby: Chapter One

DSC03361

“Hooray!” Ruby shouted, and clapped her hands. She was going on a journey! And this was to be a very special journey, all the way from the Pacific Northwest where she lives, to Connecticut in New England, which is the land of her birth. She tried on so many outfits deciding what to pack, that she hurt her arm and had to have stitches! She was a brave girl. It didn’t hurt much and all was well again.

DSC03363

Miss Ruby is a great girl now, almost five years old. Her friend, Miss Jennie, has helped her find many pretty dresses, bonnets, and coats that are her size. She couldn’t take them all! She is packing play dresses for the beach, pretty dresses for outings and visiting, bonnets to protect her from summer sun, and of course a teddy bear, a rag doll, and a book for long hours travelling. She is a little nervous about riding in an airplane, and has lots of questions. “Did you ride in an airplane when you were five?” she asks Miss Jennie. “Not a jet plane,” Jennie replies, “But my Daddy did take me flying in a little two-seater plane when I was six. Our car below, and the people, looked like toys from up in the air!”

DSC03382

Then, one morning, it was time to go. Ruby put on her travel coat, shawl, and straw hat. She said goodbye to all the dolls in her room who would stay behind. Then, rag doll and suitcase in hand, she was on her way!

This story that Miss Ruby would like to share with you about her travels this summer will come in chapters. She appreciates your patience in waiting for the “serial” chapters because Miss Jennie is not taking a computer along. May you enjoy summer adventures of your own until Miss Ruby adds more chapters to her story.

IMG_0004

This is an antique family photo taken by my grandmother in 1926. The man is my grandfather, who I never met because he died when my father was young. The little boy is my father.

 

Advertisements

The Heart of the Tree: A Wooden Doll Luncheon with Rosalie Whyel

DSC03308

This doll dates to 1690 (yes, that is three and a quarter centuries old–quite old for a doll!) and is one of only two glass-eyed dolls known to exist from this period. This Queen Ann wooden doll was on display at this luncheon event. Though she was purchased by Rosalie Whyel without her original dress, providence, and the corroboration of three parties with seperate agendas, worked to reunite her with her original dress.

Wooden dolls are some of the oldest known dolls in history. On April 4th, I was fortunate to have attended The Heart of the Tree, a luncheon with program by Rosalie Whyel celebrating early Queen Ann dolls and wooden dolls of all ages. This lovely event was hosted by the Eugene Oregon Doll Club at Shadow Hills Country Club.

DSC03325 (2)

The photo of this ancient Roman wooden doll is found in the book, DK Smithsonian History Year by Year. A date is not given for the doll’s age in this source; however, further research reveals that it dates to the second century AD.

A Doll Club special luncheon event is a delightful way to spend an afternoon! There were so many intriguing aspects of this event, from the tables set with doll delights that transformed to favors, the delicious food, fabulous displays of wooden dolls of all kinds, the interesting program by Ms. Whyel, the sales tables, the company and companionship of so many others who appreciate dolls, and finally, the raffles for the “Helpers,” dolls and items that were donated, then won and taken home by their new owners. With high regards, I share photos and impressions of my attendance of this Doll Luncheon.

DSC03307

The tables were set with a placemat of paper dolls featuring a German wooden doll. Also visible in the center are the wooden artist’s models wearing white shifts.

DSC03312

The table centerpiece main attraction was a fully clothed wooden artist’s doll wearing an 18th c. style dress and a cap. Our place settings included a pattern for the dress so that we can complete the toilet for our own dolls. One lucky guest at each table took home the clothed model and her screen.

We were encouraged to bring wooden dolls from our collections for the display tables. I brought three displays, which really included five wooden dolls. The variety of wooden dolls was tremendous!

DSC03287

My wooden doll displays in preparation for transport to the luncheon.

DSC03299

DSC03298

What a rare delight to own, or even to view in person, an antique Queen Ann doll. Even reproduction dolls are lovely.

DSC03199 - Copy

This antique wooden doll was not at the luncheon, rather, she was offered for sale by Valerie Fogel at the January 2018 Portland Crossroads Doll Show.

DSC03305

DSC03304

Grodnertal dolls, also known as peg wooden and penny wooden, were made in the area of Germany. This one has intricately painted hair.

DSC03315

This antique lady’s shoe filled with peg woodens and pearls is irresistable!

DSC03293 (2)

Adorable peg wooden dolls are still being made today.

 

DSC03292

The wooden dolls made in Springfield Vermont, including those by Joel Ellis, are intriguing. I intend to eventually add at least one to my collection.

DSC03301

DSC03296

The variety of Schoenhut dolls was grand! My girl on the far right seems a little shy in this large grouping. She is holding a small glass jar that contains a tiny 3/4″ vintage peg wooden doll.

DSC03295

Peddler dolls never fail to delight, and an Ettrennes presentation Hotte basket is a treasure indeed! Ettrennes is the French New Year when children were presented with wonderful gifts in the most beautiful presentations. The Hotte basket is just such a presentation item in a peddler style full of charming miniature toys. This one, in my collection, is 19th c. I placed it in a display case to secure the little items. It was brought to our attention during Ms. Whyel’s presentation at the luncheon. She included a slide of a Hotte basket with just peg wooden dolls in it. This Hotte basket was “hotly” photographed at this event!

Hotte Etrennes Gift Theriault's auction photo - Copy

The Theriaults auction photo of my basket shows the details so well, including the two penny wooden dolls at the top, one with a tuck comb.

DSC03300

This Appalachian doll, also in my collection, was carved by the famed Polly Page in Tennessee. This doll is known as “Aunt Jenny,” which of course further endears her to me. She is circa mid 19th century.

DSC03302

Japanese Kokeshi ningyo also made an appearance on the display tables.

Almost as exciting as the display tables were the sales tables.

DSC03289

Rosalie Whyel’s table held many delights. She had available a DVD tour of her now closed Museum of Doll Art that is a much mourned wonder previously located in Belleview Washington. Also available were copies of her book, The Heart of the Tree, and a beautiful selection of high quality dolls.

DSC03291

I was so surprised to see this astoundingly rare china doll, which is featured in her book, The Rose Unfolds, on Ms. Whyel’s table! This doll’s maker has not been identified at this time. She dates to 1850 and is quite different from the Thuringian china dolls; however, she is also unlike those china dolls known from Danish or Italian porcelain factories. What an enchantment to have the opportunity to see her in person! Of course, even though she is for sale, this is a doll for which I cannot entertain even the dream of owning.

DSC03288

My dear friend and accomplished doll saleswoman, Teri, was enjoying herself. Her antique cage doll, on the back left side of the table, had already sold early in the day. Her partner’s Schoenhut dolls and toy piano took center stage here.

DSC03323

Thanks to the creations of Susan Dunham, and a doll artist for whom I did not catch a name, I do now own these two sweet reproduction bisque dolls. Susan made the 7″ Simon Halbig mignonette, and the other doll with the molded bonnet is a Baby Stuart. They will both eventually get new clothing.

DSC03317

Of course I bought raffle tickets for the “Helpers.” I ended up with twice as many tickets as I thought I had purchased. For some items, I put many tickets in their bag because I really wanted them. For other items, I dropped one ticket in the bag to use up my surplus. These are my raffle wins. For each item here, save one, I placed one ticket in the bag, and all of these came home with me! My daughter, who is collectiong vintage toys and likes glamour, does appreciate the sparkly red dress doll.

DSC03321

I did put many tickets in the bag for this vintage carved wooden doll. She is from the Netherlands, carved in 1981. I am now researching and planning a dress for her. I’m sure that you will see it on this site when it is completed! (Oh, no! more projects than I can keep up with!)

Thank you for joining me on this little tour of a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at a Doll Club Luncheon. May all enthusiasts of “Dolls as Art” have the opportunity to attend such an event.

1750s Francis Cotes English Painter 1726 to 1770 Lady Ann Fitzpatrick - Copy

1750’s. Francis Cotes, English. Lady Ann Fitzpatrick.   Before the mid 19th century, wooden dolls were hand carved, often as a sideline by cabinet makers, or joiners. They were expensive, and available only to the wealthy, as represented in this painting. After the lathe was invented, the peg wooden dolls became readily available, affordable, and inevitably, of much poorer quality.

Beyond Oceans and Decades: In Search of Ningyo

DSC03181

Author’s collection of ichimatsu ningyo

The pursuit of a doll can lead to quite a journey sometimes, in search of the doll itself, and of knowledge about the doll. A journey of this sort can take decades, and can encompass talismans that aid in finding that which is sought. This is the story of one seeker’s journey.

In 1984 I had the unique opportunity to move from Indiana to Okinawa as my husband graduated and accepted a teaching position with University of Maryland Asian Division. Another life-changing event occured in the Spring of 1985 when, after three years of impaired fertility, I birthed my first son. Just five weeks later, in late June, the three of us embarked on a cultural tour of Japan with a U of M study tour. At this point, I didn’t think that life could get much better!

 

1985 7 July 19 Himeji Shinkansen Station Jonathan Jennie

Himeji Shinkansen Station, July 1985

The tour did include a visit to a doll factory, the Hakata ningyo factory in Fukuoka. While I found this visit interesting, I was not too excited about these dolls which, though beautiful, are stationary and all in one piece, more like figurines.

1985 3 July 14 Fukuoka Japan Hakata doll factory 1

Hakata ningyo ready to be placed into the salesroom

While it was relatively seamless for me to tote my young baby around and enjoy the tour (breastfeeding, of course!), it was necessary for me to spend a little extra time with him in our room each evening. On one of these evenings (as I found out the next morning), some of the other tour group members visited a nearby antique shop. One young woman had found an antique boy doll at the shop and was toting it around in her arms, as I toted my baby. I must say, I had more than a little envy that I did not have the opportunity to have found that doll! Yet, I consoled myself with my real little boy for whom I had waited so long.

1985 9 July 21 Ryoanji Kyoto Jennie Jonathan

Ryoanji, Kyoto, July 1985

After this tour, back on Okinawa, I was able to take a kimekome doll making class. These dolls, similar to the Hakata dolls, are stationary dolls to be admired rather than to be play dolls. I worked on several dolls in the evenings, in the seemingly few minutes that my son slept. This way, along with in-class time, I was able to complete several dolls for myself and for gifts. I also bought several more of the kits, which I still have, still in kit form.

DSC03164

A kimekome ningyo that I made as a gift for my mother-in-law. After her death, it came back to me, and now belongs to my daughter.

DSC03187

I am proud to have made this detailed kimekome geisha with the help of my sensei.

I never forgot the little antique boy ningyo that I saw in the arms of another, and continued to watch for one of my own. In 1987 we moved to the Tokyo area, and I had another son. Even though there was a doll district in Tokyo, I never made it there. Overall, dolls were not a big priority in my life at that time, and my presumption was that the dolls I would find there would be new rather than antique, and more of the stationary type I had already seen, like those above, or like the wooden kokeshi which are also commonly given as gifts.

DSC03189

Kokeshi ningyo are regional dolls from Tohoku in northern Japan. Those shown here are of the made-for-tourists variety. These dolls have the kappa hairstyle (defined below). Author’s collection

DSC03194

Here is a selection of small kokeshi that were made for the Japanese market. I found them at the weekly Salvation Army sale. They all have wobble heads. The tallest pointed hair kokeshi is 4″ while the tiny pair is a mere 3/4″. Notice the fabric-wrapped bun hairstyle on the mid-sized girls, and the shaved hair with hair tufts by the ears on the boys. This is Meiji era, or late 19th, early 20th c. and is earlier than the ichimatsu dolls shown below.

I did find some interesting second-hand shopping while I lived in Tokyo, including a weekly Salvation Army sale. One time I watched a worker unpack a whimsical small scale kimekome set of Dolls Day Hina Matsuri dolls in muted colors. As soon as she unpacked it, I bought it and she had to immediately pack it up again! (This set is still in Connecticut, so I cannot show you photos at this time.)

Japan Hina Matsuri display

Hina Matsuri, or Dolls Day festival on March 3rd, displays a replica of the court, and is perhaps the most well- known of Japanese dolls.

My life in Tokyo continued to include travel, in which I delighted. In 1989 I visited Nagoya and went to the famous Nagoya Temple Market. At one of the stalls there, I found a girl doll with moveable limbs and real hair. I didn’t know what kind of doll she was (a Bunraku puppet doll, I speculated, but there were no strings). I bought her.

1989 8 March Nagoya Temple flea market 2 Jennie Jonathan

Shopping at the Nagoya Temple Market in 1989. I am on the left with my first son.

The doll was not in the best condition, and I set out to restore her, even though I had no idea how. She smelled of moth balls and the crinkled satin-like fabric that connected her hard parts was deteriorating. Her right arm was hanging by a thread, showing the cotton batting stuffing inside. She was also missing her obi (the belt around the waist of the kimomo). I decided to hand wash her kimono in cold water, and realized that was a mistake! The fabrics began to bleed! I removed them from the water and spread them to dry, but the beautiful floral design on the dark blue kimono was permanenty damaged by my ignorance about how to restore the doll. I did patch the fabric on her arms, then admitted temporary defeat and packed her away in a wicker basket. Luckily, I had the foresight to buy a pink girl’s soft obi to replace the deteriorated one my doll had, and a vintage narrow obi as a substitute for the missing one.

DSC01901

This is the doll as she came out of her basket when I brought her home to Oregon from Connecticut in 2014.

This ningyo hibernated in her basket on her trip moving to the United States, in Washington for ten years, then in Connecticut where she was initially left behind, and finally came home to Oregon in 2014.

Now a lot has happened, any way you look at it, since I brought this ningyo out of Japan in 1991. At that time, I could not identify the type of doll she is, I did not know about her materials or construction, and I did not even know how to dress her or tie an obi. Over twenty-five years of internet innovation and doll research have made it possible for this sweet Ichimatsu ningyo to come out of hibernation and “breathe” again!

DSC02986

The doll parts in partially restored condition as I had left her since 1989. The wooden box on the lower right is her squeaker that is now in her tummy. It still works by compressing the front and back together.

The first “talisman” that I found with exciting clues about the nature of my doll was Antique Doll Collector magazine, October 2015, which offered an article on “Japanese Ningyo.” Finally, I was able to identify my doll as an ichimatsu ningyo with gofun (crushed oyster shell) covered parts. Thank goodness I didn’t try to clean her face, or it would have disolved! Other magazine articles, most notably by Japanese doll and antiques expert Alan Scott Pate, followed. Books on Japanese dolls, written for English speakers, which didn’t exist 25 years ago, and internet sources on kimono and tying an obi, are my next talismans, and have given me the confidence to finish restoring my ningyo.

DSC02989

The water damaged kimono and other parts of the doll’s original clothing, including the little pink soft obi that is faded and shredded.

DSC02992

The vintage orange adult narrow obi is at the top. Below is the padded cord that goes on top of the obi, then the doll’s faded soft obi. At the bottom is the new girl’s size soft obi that I bought while still in Japan.

DSC02993

The red fabric is an underskirt that goes on the doll before the kimono. The bottom shows the signature (of the doll’s artist) papers that are wrapped around the doll’s torso before she is dressed. I cannot read the kanji, so I don’t know her artist.

DSC03003

Here is my restored ningyo with new muslin fabric parts. The original pale green crinkled satin-type fabric is still on her arms.

DSC03176

My ningyo, restored and dressed. She is 20″ tall.

My ichimatsu ningyo is of the Showa era, or circa probably 1930’s. Her hairstyle is called kappa, meaning “cap” and is similar to western bobbed or pageboy hairstyles of the 1920’s and 30’s. Although she does not measure up to Alan Scott Pate’s “good” condition, I love her dearly because I found her, and I brought her back to life after all these years.

DSC03171

The boy ningyo. He is 14″ tall. Though Showa era, he may be later than the two girl dolls.

Although eBay has been around for many years, to my knowledge, it is much more recent that dealers in Japan have been offering items for sale internationally on eBay. There is a wide selection of ichimatsu and other ningyo now available to choose from. And choose, I did! I found a small boy doll who is at least similar to the one I saw in 1985–it has been so long, I can’t remember that doll’s details very clearly. And I brought one more girl, perhaps in the “better” category, and two babies into my family of ichimatsu ningyo.

DSC03181

My newest girl is also Showa era from the 1920’s or 30’s. She may be considered a “better” ningyo because of the quality of her kimono and facial detailing, and because her nails have indented detailing. She is 19″ tall.

DSC03183

These are gofun dollhouse size play dolls that come in a little basket with a lid. The okasan and otosan are 4″ tall. Author’s collection

The Japanese dolls or ningyo that I have shown you here are the ones that have touched my life the most, while I lived in Japan and afterward. There are many more types of ningyo, and ningyo feature prominently in many aspects of Japanese life, not just for children. I have shared my story with Japanese dolls here, yet I have not told you much about the history or characteristics of the dolls. Perhaps that will be another story . . .

For More Information:

Kaonis, Donna. “A Visit with the Herrings.” (Japanese Dolls) Antique Doll Collector, October 2015.

Kita, Terry. The Sun Shines For Us All: The Friendship Dolls From Japan. Valparaiso, IN: Valparaiso University, 2015.

Pate, Alan Scott. “Good, Better, Best: Evaluating Japanese Ichimatsu Dolls.” Antique Doll Collector, March 2017.

Pate, Alan Scott. Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2008.

Pate, Alan Scott. Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2005.

Stern, Itske and Anthony. “Wonderful Japanese Kokeshi Dolls.” Doll News, Winter 2015.

 

Japanese girl in kimono with Ichimatsu ningyo 1920

Japanese girl in kimono with kappa hairstyle and ichimatsu ningyo on her back, 1920

 

 

 

Knarls and Twists

DSC03007

My restored ningyo, found in Nagoya, 1989

Sometimes the knarls and twists of life just keep me from writing and sewing for the dolls. The past year has been full of twists, mostly good, that have kept me occupied away from my blog. It included a won trip to Hawaii, a move to a new apartment in a new city, a short trip to visit my son and his wife in St. Louis, and most recently, a 3 week bout of that awful flu.

IMG_0001

My daughter and me on Hawaii, 2017

My apologies to my faithful followers for my inconsistent posting over the past year, and thank you to my new followers for your vote of confidence in my blog as a whole.

I have worked on a few doll projects over the year, and have taken some photos along the way. So now I am preparing a new blog post about a personal story and a long journey (literally and figuratively) to learning about Japanese dolls, or ningyo. I am hoping to have this post ready for you within the week–we’ll see if I can get some good photos in our near sunless Pacific Northwest climate at this time of year. Additionally, the Portland Crossroads Doll and Teddy Bear Show is tomorrow, so perhaps I will find a story there. Then, I have another doll restored and waiting to be dressed that I would like to share with you soon.

DSC02488

Doll restoration with a Kling shoulder head

I am offering my gratitude for all of your interest in my blog, and blessings for your health and prosperity in the coming year. Take joy in the beauty of antique dolls!  ~Jennie

Antique photo may 24 1927 Japanese dolls for American children

Ningyo being prepared to send to American children, 1927

 

Aesthetics and Whimsy: Thoughts on Dolls and Depression Glass as Art

miss-oita-japanese-friendship-doll

Miss Oita is one of the 58 Ambassador Dolls sent to the US from Japan in 1927 after US children sent 12,739 “Blue Eyed” dolls to children in  Japan. Miss Oita represents Okayama Prefecture and resides in the Springfield Museum of MA.

A whole weekend off work is a rare pleasure for me. Last night I was reading my newly acquired book about the Japanese Friendship Dolls, especially the chapter on “The Japanese Doll” (so much new and useful background information for me!), and the subsection entitled “Why Ambassador [Friendship] Dolls are Art.” In a nutshell, this essay points out that one of the Friendship doll makers, Hirata Goyo II, signed his dolls on the back of their heads indicating that he viewed himself as an artist. All of the 30″ high Friendship Dolls were made by hand to the highest standards of craftsmanship and consistency of style. Because they were hand made, the dolls of each of the six makers had slight variations in their style. Goyo most likely signed his dolls because his way of thinking was leaning toward the new way of innovation and individuation, while the other artists were thinking in the more traditional Japanese style of working collectively.   After much reasoning, examples and details, this essay concluded that all 58 of the friendship dolls, not just those of Goyo, are indeed works of art.

Miss Kyoto-fu by Hirata Goyo II

Miss Kyoto-fu was made by Hirata Goyo II and resides in the Children’s Museum of Boston. Note the variation of her smiling mouth with teeth showing.

This essay on dolls as art has helped me to crystalize my thoughts on German china dolls as art. To point, can factory made objects intended for play be considered as art? I believe that they can, especially when we are considering the earlier dolls where careful attention was given to individually hand painted features. While the dolls of each factory had to conform to consistency standards of production, there were still small individuations in the dolls, such as wisps in the hair along the hairline, and slight mouth and eye variations that lend differences to expressions or moods for the dolls. Even though the German chinas were not signed by individual artists, they were painted by doll makers, and many (though not all) do reach the standard of art.

Early German Meissen China Head Doll

This early Meissen German china doll has the most beautiful and serene expression that I have seen on a doll of this mold.

DSC02972

A variety of green Depression Glass in my collection. Some think that green is more desirable than pink glass. I’m glad that I have some of each.

Today, the second day of my full weekend off, I unpacked my last box of Depression Glass to fill out my collection displays. And doing so, I pondered this question of art further: Can mass produced objects like this glass be considered art? Perhaps this is pushing the definition of art too far, yet there are definitely artistic qualities to this glassware that I hold so dear.

DSC02973

Here is a bowl in the “Oyster and Pearl” pattern in my collection viewed from above to show the lovely symmetry of its design.

DSC02974

The same “Oyster and Pearl” bowl from the side.

This glassware, produced in a variety of jewel-like colors, was made from the late 1920’s until about 1940 (hence its name). It was often given, or sold at low prices, as premiums for purchasing products such as oats or laundry soap. Therefore, it was quickly produced without much quality control, so rough edges and seam lines, and other imperfections are often found. Oh, but the array of patterns, shapes, proportions, pressed designs, and colors are delightful! There had to have been designers to come up with the patterns that were put into production–were they not artists in their own right?

DSC02978

“Aunt Polly” is a most extraordinary shade of blue!

DSC02983

A “Mayfair” cup and saucer in a different shade of blue. Note the beautifully pressed floral motif.

In his book, The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, Thomas Moore makes the point that useful and utilitarian objects and tools can be so much more delightful and whimsical, as well as useful, when we give them creative and artistic form. This is exactly what Depression Glass does with otherwise utilitarian objects such as dinner plates and refrigerator boxes.

DSC02975

“American Sweetheart” is made from thin milk-white glass that takes on the color underneath it around the pattern edges.

DSC02980

A Royal Ruby berry bowl in “Coronation” pattern stacks fine ribs on top of wide ribs for an elegant design.

DSC02982

Even the handle is elegant.

Of course, one’s sense of the aesthetic is colored (pun intended) by one’s time and place of being. By the 1940’s, people considered that colored glass to be old fashioned (which they thought was a bad thing; imagine that!) and the new clear, or crystal, glass with modern straight lines and geometric shapes was in fashion. Oh dear, I just don’t understand. I will stay with the whimsical jewel tones!

Manhatten Candle Holder

“Manhattan” candle holder. This pattern was made from 1938 to 1943.

References:

Kita, Terry. The Sun Shines For Us All: The Friendship Dolls From Japan. Valparaiso, IN: Valparaiso University, 2015.

Florence, Gene. Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass (14th Ed.). Paducah, KY: Collectors Books, 2000.

Moore, Thomas. The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life. New York: Harper Collins, 1997

Woman at sink 1930s farmhouse kitchen

I think she finds joy in washing her colored glass in front of her sunny window. (circa 1930’s)

 

The August Dolls

DSC02445

Along with Augusta, these four dolls came home with me from the Portland Doll Show on August 20th.

Some seasons, at the semi-annual Portland Crossroads Doll & Teddy Bear Show & Sale, I find  my bag filling up with every manner of doll accessory. Doll clothing–ranging from late-1800’s to modern–abound, and one can spend hours rummaging through the dollar bins, sometimes to fair advantage. I come away from this show with crocheted items, chairs, mini books, little old tea cups, old leather shoes, fabrics and laces, teeny cards of buttons, and teddy bears. Sometimes after hours of wandering and choosing, I realize that I have not bought a doll. But not this time!

DSC02447

An enigma–a Hertwig (ABG?) Currier & Ives doll, and a Kister doll with very curly hair.

These two 20″ tall chinas found their way into my bag early in the morning. The first girl, on the left, is a Currier and Ives hair style. She has tendrils of hair falling onto her neck all the way around, and her ears are exposed. This girl, who I have named Clara, has all the characteristics of a doll made by the Hertwig factory. She has long single stroke eyebrows that almost wrap around her eyes, which are not outlined or highlighted, and the pupils gaze upward. She has a pursed heart-shaped mouth, and a large incised size number “6” on the back of her shoulder plate. And finally, she has the quintessential Hertwig lower legs with horizontal ribs and short brown boots. Her cloth body appears to be original.

I have not previously researched Currier & Ives dolls, and now, after looking her up in Mary Gorham Krombholz’s book, A Pictorial Reference Guide for German Chinas, I have conflicting information. The Currier & Ives doll in the book is in the Alt, Beck, & Gotschalk chapter; however, she defies Mary’s criteria for ABG dolls. She is a large doll and does NOT have eye accent dots or outlines, and she does not have the darker lip accent line or the V dip in her lips. Furthermore, ABG made the Spill Curls doll at about the same time (1870’s to 1880’s) which is a very similar style to the Currier & Ives doll, and is undeniably from ABG. The Currier & Ives doll has face painting that fits all the criteria for Hertwig dolls, she has the large size number incize mark on the back of her shoulder plate, and my doll, Clara, has a body with unglazed porcelain arms and Hertwig type ribbed legs with brown boots rather than ABG type C-cup hands and black heeled boots with the V-shaped top. She looks different from my other ABG dolls. Therefore, in my opinion, the Currier & Ives doll is a Hertwig factory doll, and not an ABG doll. I welcome further comentary on this issue!

An Alt, Beck, & Gottschalk china doll with the Spill Curl hair style is shown on the right. This doll is clearly from the ABG factory and is similar to the Currier & Ives hair style doll on the left. Note the similarities and difference in the face painting.

 

Clara came dressed in split drawers and a lace petticoat. The red cotton dress with feather stitched embroidery was one of those endearing finds in a pile of newer baby doll clothing. It is a perfect young girl’s dress for this doll, and layers nicely with her petticoat. (A child of this late 1800’s period would wear a shorter knee length dress, and not a full length petticoat. However, I think Clara should get to keep the clothing that she brought with her.)

DSC02448

The Currier and Ives doll, Clara, shows off her Hertwig ribbed limbs with brown boots.

DSC02457

Even the lady dolls enjoy a bottle of Maryhill wine!

This lady china doll has an unusual curly hairstyle that is similar to, but is not, a flat top style. Her hair, with comb marks in the back, falls smooth to her ear level, then ends in tight round curls all around. It is this unusual hairstyle that recommends her. She has the facial features of a doll made by the A. W. Fr. Kister factory with straight single stroke brows, eyes that are not highlighted or outlined, and an upper lip with low, far-spaced peaks. This doll has a professionally rebuilt shoulder plate and a new made body with cloth feet and newer unglazed porcelain lady’s lower arms. She came unclothed. She currently has no small cloths, and is wearing an antique silk gold and honey striped wrapper dress. I bought this dress to try and clothe Miss Bettina or Edith of the white chemises and petticoats in the doll’s house bedroom, but this dress’s sleeves are too narrow for those dolls. This new curly headed doll has narrower arms, and the dress fits her fairly well.

DSC02454

Bessie greets the Hertwig twins in the child-sized Seth Tudor chair. She is thinking about pushing the twins out of the chair so she can try it–just her size!

The smaller blonde china is without a doubt a Hertwig lowbrow doll. At 12 1/2″ tall, Bessie is just right to be a child in the doll’s house. She has nice quality china arms and smooth (not ribbed) china legs with black boots and blue painted bows. Bessie came dressed in a nice lace trimmed pinnafore style petticoat and tucked drawers.

DSC02452

Bessie is delighted with the ABC blocks, the story books, and the wee china doll that are now her toys! The lady doll is an ABG curly top hairstyle in the Cafe Au Laite color. She has brown leather arms, blue leather boots, and is wearing an 1880’s polonaise style antique dress with a new underskirt.

DSC02451

The smallest all-bisque doll is also a Hertwig. At 6″ tall, Chelsea has nicely molded features with crisp curls, comb marks in her yellow hair, and detailed hands with molded knuckle dimples and fingernails. She wears a molded camisole and drawers with blue trim and blue bows at her knees above her bare feet. Her legs were un-strung when I got her, and the edges of them are chipped at the hip. I kept the narrow elastic cording that had been used to string her, but added china buttons to keep the knots from pulling through the holes again. Her arms have the original wire armature. She fits nicely as an infant in the Breton cradle in the doll’s bedroom.

DSC02443

Augusta is all freshened up with a new place to sit on a small Windsor sewing rocker with an age appropriate quilt remnant.

I was content with my china and bisque doll finds this time, and was wandering around, peeking at my favorite booths and looking into all the corners. Then, Gussie just sort of leaped into my arms later in the day. Although I had been looking at Greiner dolls for a number of years, I was not intending to buy another doll this day. She was the right doll at a very good price, though she was a shoe-less waif with a dusty dress when I found her.

DSC02411

Here is Gussie all ready for bed in a night dress made of 19th century pink calico. (It is quite long and was most likely made for a baby.) She didn’t want to give up her new shoes (found at the doll show just for her) while she waited for her dress to dry from its’ laundering.

 

DSC02416

Undies all freshened up and a good look at her mid 19th century cloth body.

German born Ludwig Greiner came to the United States in the 1830’s, settling in Philadelphia. He made papier mache dolls and patented his process of reinforcing the papier mache with cloth. The patent label reads, GREINER’S IMPROVED PATENT HEADS Pat. March 30th ‘58. Some pre-patent Greiner dolls have glass eyes, and there are variations in the hair styles, though all the Greiner dolls have a distinctive look. Gussie is 26″ tall with a cloth body and legs, and dark brown leather lower arms and hands. She has black hair and dark blue painted eyes.

DSC02422

Augusta’s patent label, glued on the back of her shoulder plate.

DSC02417

A linen petticoat.

DSC02427

China and glass buttons all down the back, including the blue ringer on the petticoat just visible at the bottom of the photo. The cotton dress is gorgeous, but is in frail condition.

DSC02442

Freshly dressed in her deep burgundy dress with gold floral print, “new” old kid leather shoes, and a golden real sanddollar pendant.

Antique photo girl with Greiner doll

Antique photograph of a little girl holding a Greiner doll with dark leather arms.

We’re wishing all of you all the joys of poking around, viewing, and purchasing at your favorite antique show or rummage sale. Take joy!

Golden August Days

 

DSC02443

My newest charmer, Augusta, is a Greiner paper mache doll.

In the turning of the days for my family, it is August that routinely brings us fun outings. There is the Aurora Colony Days festival, followed by the Portland Doll Show, with the Oregon City Antique Fair bringing up the rear. And this year our August events were led by a wedding! My youngest son, Jeremiah, married his long time friend and sweetheart, Jazmyne.

DSC02390

Jeremiah’s first dance with his new bride in a sun-gold haze.

DSC02377

A formal occaision! Me with Jeremiah and Jonathan. Unfortunately, middle son Alex was not able to be there.

Our path to the wedding, which was held in the Yakima Valley, Washington, led us through Goldendale where I stopped for wine at the Maryhill Winery, my favorite!

DSC02356

Showing off one of my bottles, along with the Columbia River Gorge-eous view.

The very next weekend we went south of the mighty Columbia to the Pudding River and antiques at Aurora.

DSC02401

I resisted the urge and didn’t buy any chairs this time, though these caught my eye.

DSC02400

Artful displays of glass always catch my attention too. A few of these “sun purple” sherbets did come home with me.

DSC02435

A Victorian curved glass side by side secretary has been on my wish list for many, many years. This one is small enough to fit in my available space, and as a “shabby chic” renovation, it fit my budget–yes, the $1400 ones are still lovely to look at and dream about. I forgot to photograph this one before it left the shop. It was hard to photograph in its new little location. I already love it as my new best protected doll display place!

The next event, the Portland Doll Show did not fail to delight!

DSC02402

These three mid-19th century papier mache ladies were some of the first dolls to greet me.

DSC02405

A Martha Chase boy dressed in lace with a wee bisque companion was also a charmer.

DSC02407

Brighde goes for more modern dolls. She thought this huge brunette girl could be her daughter, and she would have liked to bring her home. (We didn’t.)

DSC02445

Several china dolls and an all-bisque little girl came home with me.

DSC02442

Then, Gussie sort of leaped into my arms later in the day.

I will tell you all about these dolls in my next post very soon.

DSC02439

After attending two other antique and doll events in close succession in August, I don’t often find much at the Oregon City Antique Fair, but I do usually find something unique. This time I found these vintage Japanese kimono remnants for doll sewing, and an oval framed old photograph of two girls dressed in Edwardian white; one holding a bisque doll.

 

 

The Little Sisters painted 1896 (2)

May all of your August days be golden.