A look at some of the cards sent from the Collectors Clubs.
Click on image for detail.
A look at some of the cards sent from the Collectors Clubs.
A look at some of the cards sent from the Collectors Clubs.
Click on image for detail.
Collecting Annie Dolls – When the Annie musical first hit London, in 1978, following on from the Broadway production a year before, it was a smash-hit. It gave numerous young girls a chance to shine, amongst them a very youthful Catherine Zeta Jones, who played the lead role in a Swansea production, aged just ten. Little Orphan Annie made her debut in a cartoon strip in the Chicago Tribune in 1924, brainchild of artist Harold Gray. The story of the twelve-year-old girl surviving by her wits as she made her way in the world proved enormously popular. In 1927, according to the cartoon, Annie was living with a kind lady called Mrs. Pewter, who decided the little girl needed a new frock. She made her a red dress, with a white collar and cuffs – and the Annie image was born! Today, the carroty curls and red, white-trimmed dress, are instantly recognisable to people on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to the musical, and, even more so, the movie. The London show, at the Victoria Palace theatre, starred Sheila Hancock and Stratford Johns, with Andrea McArdle playing Annie, and ran for 1,485 performances. It was a resounding success, and was soon followed by a movie version, which today graces not only our television screens but is often still shown at cinemas, too. Most of us know the story of the orphan girl who was adopted by the benevolent millionaire Daddy Warbucks, but cruelly tricked by scheming Miss Hannigan into believing that her parents were still alive. Songs such as ‘I think I`m gonna like it here`, ‘You`re never fully dressed without a smile’, ‘It`s a hard knock life’ and, of course, ‘Tomorrow’ led to a happily ever after finale – and spawned loads of memorabilia, including dolls. Annie was very much an all-American icon; she lifted spirits during the dark days of the depression, and has always had a special place in the hearts of the American people. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the dolls are American, some dating from the musical and movie days, others more recent, and a few which were made in the 1930s and 40s. When the musical first came out, manufacturers were quick to realise the marketing potential, but it was the release of the movie in 1982 which really triggered the mass interest. At the time toyshops featured colourful displays of the scarlet-dressed Annie, though, certainly in Britain, most of the dolls were of the cloth doll type. It might be just as well to clear up a popular misconception here – Annie is not the same character as Raggedy Ann. Raggedy Ann was a doll dreamt up by American writer Johnny Gruelle in 1915 to amuse his sick daughter. The doll was a pinafore-wearing rag doll with a triangular nose and red hair. By contrast, Annie (or Little Orphan Annie) was a fictional child whose character became world-famous through the medium of cartoons, musical theatre and cinema. Many of the Annie dolls are easy to find, though often you will need to purchase from America as the more unusual types were not sold in Britain. Those that are easy to find over here include a selection of cloth dolls. One of the most appealing was made by Knickerbocker in the early 1980s. She stood 16 inches tall, and her gingery hair was sewn in tight wool curls. A tiny furry Sandy, the dog which she adopted in the film, was tucked inside a pocket in her red dress. The company also made a smaller, 6 inch, Annie doll, but she was not so well detailed, as well as several larger sizes. Applause was another company who made Annie cloth dolls, including some with reinforced, stiff faces. The interesting thing about the Applause dolls was the way that the company tried to capture the blank-eyed expression of the original cartoon character by giving the dolls printed eyes which appeared to be gazing upwards. These dolls were similarly dressed to the Knickerbocker girls, but their curls were looser and softer. Applause Annies were made in various sizes, including some small clip-on types. Expect to pay around £15 for a cloth Annie doll depending on condition. Also available in Britain was a delightful small vinyl Annie doll, made by Knickerbocker. This doll stood just six inches high and was sold in the ubiquitous red Annie dress. A ‘gold’ locket was included in the box with the doll, large enough for a child to wear. In the show, the locket was a vital piece of evidence in the search for Annie’s parents. The outfits issued at the time for this little doll included a pale yellow floral dress, a cream two piece, a blue coat, a pink floral nightdress and a blue play-suit, with accompanying hats and shoes. Other characters were issued in the same series, but were much harder to find in the UK, and today you would probably need to try ebay if you want to add them to your collection. Punjab, an Indian doll, looked handsome in his white cotton suit and turban with a bright red and black striped sash tied around his waist. Daddy Warbucks wore a black satin evening suit with a white shirt, black bow tie and red cummerbund. Knickerbocker managed to achieve some great characterisation in these small playdolls, capturing Daddy Warbuck`s expression – and his bald head – very well. Scary, intoxicated Miss Hannigan was also included in the set, dressed in a mauve two-piece patterned with small multi-coloured shapes, while little Molly, Annie’s friend at the orphanage, wore a green pinafore over a floral long-sleeved blouse. Molly had a delightful smile and her brown hair was cut into a short bob with a fringe. Knickerbocker produced several accessories to go with these dolls, amongst them a super blue 1929 Model Duesenberg Limousine, complete with chauffeur. It measured 15 inches long, and there was room in the back seats for two Annie dolls. The company also made […]
We thought it would be fun to take a closer look at George Tinworth and his humorous comical frogs. For a more detailed account on the life and work of George Tinworth visit George Tinworth – The Greatest Doulton Lambeth Designer. Here we look at some of the Tinworth frogs and frog groups and their values. A George Tinworth for Doulton Lambeth `The Scrimmage’ a good Modelled Frog Group, circa 1880 – George Tinworth for Doulton Lambeth `The Scrimmage’ a good Modelled Frog Group, circa 1880 depicting a group of frogs in sporting combat, in a green and brown glaze, on titled base 12.3cm high, artist monogram. Estimate £6,500 – 7,000 US$ 9,900 – 11,000 Bonhams, London, 2009. Image Copyright Bonhams. A George Tinworth for Doulton Lambeth a Double Frog Footed Vase, circa 1880 – Doulton Lambeth George Tinworth for Doulton Lambeth a Double Frog Footed Vase, circa 1880 modelled with two frogs clasping the sides of a bell-shape vase, glazed blue and buff 10.8cm high, obscured monogram to body. Estimate £2,000 – 2,500 €2,600 – 3,300 Bonhams, London, 2009. Image Copyright Bonhams. A George Tinworth A Doulton Model of a Frog in a Canoe by George Tinworth – A Doulton Model of a Frog in a Canoe by George Tinworth he is depicted seated with oar in his hands, glazed green, blue and brown 12.5cm long, (S.R to oar). Sold for £2,400 at Bonhams, London, Dec 2005. Image Copyright Bonhams. George Tinworth For Doulton Lambeth; ‘Hunting’ Figural Group – c.1888, stoneware modelled as frogs riding mice in a steeplechase incised monogram and impressed marks 4½in. (11.5cm.) high. Sold for £4,200 ($7,711) at Christies, London, July, 2006. Image Copyright Christies. George Tinworth For Doulton Lambeth; ‘Jack And The Green’ Figural Group -c.1885, stoneware modelled as frogs at a Jack in the Green May Day festival impressed and incised marks 5in. (12.8cm.) high. Sold for £4,560 ($8,372) at Christies, London, July, 2006. Image Copyright Christies. Books on George Tinworth
Louis Wain Cats Louis William Wain was born on August 5, 1860 in Clerkenwell in London. His father was a textile trader and embroiderer, his mother was French. He was the first of six children, and the only male child. None of his five sisters ever married. At the age of thirty, his youngest sister was certified as insane, and admitted to an asylum. The remaining sisters lived with their mother for the duration of their lifetimes, as did Louis for the majority of his life. Pictured: The Contented Cat signed ‘Louis Wain.’ – bodycolour 11 x 9¼ in.. Sold for £5,250 ($8,022) against an estimate of £700 – £900 ($1,070 – $1,375) at Christies, London, July 2010. Wain was born with a cleft lip and the doctor gave his parents the orders that he should not be sent to school or taught until he was ten years old. As a youth, he was often truant from school, and spent much of his childhood wandering around London. Following this period, Louis studied at the West London School of Art and eventually became a teacher there for a short period. At the age of 20, Wain was left to support his mother and sisters after his father’s death. Pictured: A Louis Wain Pottery Model Of ‘The Laughing Cat’, Manufactured By Royal Staffordshire, Early 20th Century, modelled seated wearing a bow tie printed and painted marks 7½ in. (19.1 cm.) high. Sold for £563 ($1,018) at Christies, London, September 2008. Wain soon quit his teaching position to become a freelance artist, and in this role he achieved substantial success. He specialized in drawing animals and country scenes, and worked for several journals including the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where he stayed for four years, and the Illustrated London News, beginning in 1886. Through the 1880s, Wain’s work included detailed illustrations of English country houses and estates, along with livestock he was commissioned to draw at agricultural shows. His work at this time includes a wide variety of animals, and he maintained his ability to draw creatures of all kinds throughout his lifetime. At one point, he hoped to make a living by drawing dog portraits. Pictured: An early 20th Century Amphora (Austrian) pottery figure of a cat in the “Cubist” manner designed by Louis Wain, the octagonal head and angular body decorated in yellow, orange and black on a turquoise ground, 10.5ins high x 9.5ins overall (green printed mark to base with registration No. 637132 and signed in black). Sold for £8200 at the Canterbury Auction Galleries, June 2008 a then record for a Louis Wain ceramic cat figure. At the age of 23, Wain married his sisters’ governess, Emily Richardson, who was ten years his senior (which was considered quite scandalous at the time), and moved with her to Hampstead in north London. Emily soon began to suffer from cancer, and died only three years after their marriage. It was during this period that Wain discovered the subject that would define his career. During her illness, Emily was comforted by their pet cat Peter, and Wain taught him tricks such as wearing spectacles and pretending to read in order to amuse his wife. He began to draw extensive sketches of the large black and white cat. He later wrote of Peter, “To him properly belongs the foundation of my career, the developments of my initial efforts, and the establishing of my work.” Peter can be recognized in many of Wain’s early published works. In 1886, Wain’s first drawing of anthropomorph ised cats was published in the Christmas issue of the Illustrated London News, titled A Kittens’ Christmas Party. The illustration depicted 150 cats, many of which resemble Peter, sending invitations, holding a ball, playing games, and making speeches over eleven panels. Still, the cats remain on all fours, unclothed, and without the variety of human-like expression that would characterize Wain’s work. Under the pseudonym George Henri Thompson, he illustrated numerous books for children by Clifton Bingham published by Ernest Nister. In subsequent years, Wain’s cats began to walk upright, smile broadly and use other exaggerated facial expressions, and wear sophisticated contemporary clothing. Wain’s illustrations showed cats playing musical instruments, serving tea, playing cards, fishing, smoking, and enjoying a night at the opera. Such anthropomorphic portrayals of animals were very popular in Victorian England, and were often found in prints, on greeting cards and in satirical illustrations such as those of John Tenniel. Pictured: The choristers signed ‘Louis Wain’ (lower left), watercolour and bodycolour, 7 x 9in. (17.8 x 22.8cm.). Sold for £7,050 ($9,976), Christies, London, December 2001. Wain was a prolific artist over the next thirty years, sometimes producing as many as several hundred drawings a year. He illustrated about one hundred children’s books, and his work appeared in papers, journals, and magazines, including the Louis Wain Annual, which ran from 1901 to 1915. His work was also regularly reproduced on picture postcards, and these are highly sought after by collectors today. In 1898 and 1911 he was chairman of the National Cat Club. Wain’s illustrations often parody human behavior, satirizing fads and fashions of the day. He wrote, “I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think [to be] my best humorous work.” Wain was involved with several animal charities, including the Governing Council of Our Dumb Friends League, the Society for the Protection of Cats, and the Anti-Vivisection Society. He was also active in the National Cat Club, acting as President and Chairman of the committee at times. He felt that he helped “to wipe out the contempt in which the cat has been held” in England. Pictured: The Cat in his Garden, 287 by 320mm., fine watercolour and gouache drawing, signed in lower right corner “Louis Wain”, mounted, framed and glazed. Sold for £15,000 at […]
Today is 21st October 2015 (well it is if you are reading when first published) and for Back to the Future fans it is a special day – it is the day Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown travelled to in Back to the Future 2 in 1989. 2015 also mark the 30th Anniversary of the original Back to the Future release, so we thought we would indulge ourselves and write a feature on Back to the Future Collectibles and Merchandise. We are going Back to, no we are Collecting Back to the Future! Pictured: Back to the Future (Universal, 1985) One Sheet (27″ X 41″) movie poster. This version sold at Heritage Auctions for $501.90 in February 2015. Back to the Future Part II (Universal, 1989) Advance One Sheet movie poster (27″ X 41″) which sold at Heritage Auctions for $195.50 in February 2006. Back to the Future Part III (Universal, 1990) One Sheet movie poster (27″ X 40″) which sold at Heritage Auctions for $143.40 in June 2015. The Back to the Future Movie Franchise The original film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Gale and Neil Canton. The cast included Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. The film follows teenager Marty McFly (Fox) as he travels accidentally back in time to a Hill Valley of 1955 in a De Lorean time machine built by the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown. Pictured: One of the iconic De Lorean cars from the Back to the Future films. This version was sold by Profiles in History at their Icons of Hollywood auction in December 2011 for $541,200. There is some debate as to how many De Loreans were used in the films but seven seems to be agreed upon by several sources. Only a few have survived and at the time this was the only one in private hands. Most of us cannot afford a real De Lorean, yet alone one used in filming. Luckily there have been a number of small models over the years. Corgi produced a very popular 1:36th scale model which included a Doc Brown figure. In mint condition in box these can now sell for £50-£60. In 2001 Corgi produced a Limited Edition of 100 “Back To The Future” – Delorean – Finished In Silver to commemorate the launch of their TV & Film Collection. This model now sells for nearly £200. During his brief time he meets his future parents in high school, becomes his mother’s romantic interest and changes the course of history. Marty with the help of Doc Brown must repair the damage and find a way to return to 1985. The film was released on July 3, 1985, grossing over $300 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1985. The film marked the beginning of a franchise, with two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990). Back to the Future Action Figures There are now more toys and collectibles available for the collectors than there has even been. Surprisingly there do es not seem to be any action figures produced for the films at the time. Please let us know if you have any information. The Back to the Future license has been taken up by a number of companies and brands including Funko, POP!, Hot Toys, ReAction, MiniMates etc. Back to the Movie Props and Replicas Owning an original Back to the Future movie prop is the holy grail for any collector. Prop replicas are also an affordable way to enter this market. Online and specialist auction houses have made access to these sort of items much easier. Below are a few items from the ScreenUsed and BacktotheFuture.com 30th Anniversary auction. Replicas of the items below are also available. Back to the Future Collectibles, Toys & Memorabilia Related backtothefuture.com ScreenUsed.com
At a recent exhibition at the Acorn Gallery, Pocklington we had the pleasure of interviewing a favourite artist of ours at WCN, the very talented Marie Louise Wrightson. Marie’s work and imagining of Alice in Wonderland has caught our attention and her clever use of props, novelties and frames for her art make her an artist to watch. Have you always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland? Being Dyslexic, I have always loved the illustrations in books, for me, they bring the stories to life in so many ways. Alice in Wonderland has always been my favorite book, I think it’s that mix of escapism, fantasy and the wonderful portrayal of the creativity of Lewis Carroll in his story telling. Who is your favourite character? My favorite character has to be the Mad Hatter, because of his love of tea and fabulous quotes. Do you collect Alice in Wonderland books? I have a large collection of of Alice in Wonderland objects and around 70 books, many favorites, but I do have a Russian copy with some amazing illustrations. I am constantly inspired by the drawings, paintings and illustrations from the books, a fabulous resource of imagery. You also create designs featuring wonderful hair arrangements. How did you come up with the idea and how do you select the items that appear? I started painting a grown up Alice with large cups on her head and long hair with all the related objects not long after I graduated from art school. I like creating that almost dream like effect with my figures, a head full of dreams. What else inspires you? I’m a bit of a DC fan and have painted many characters from the comics and films, would love to paint a Bane and Batman piece, many next year. Favorite comic characters has to be Harley Quinn and Cat Woman, always fun to paint. More about Marie Louise Wrightson Marie Louise graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art, in Dundee, in 2005, having completed her degree in Fine Art and then later her Masters. Marie’s modern twist on a very fine art style has gained her an excellent reputation. Marie was born in Lincolnshire but has lived in Scotland for the past twenty years. Further information You can find Marie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarieLWrightson/ Marie Louise Wrightson at the Acorn Gallery
Political Character and Toby Jugs at Stoke Art Pottery Toby Jugs have been around since the early 18th century. They were revived by Doulton in the 19th century, who developed the idea into a range of character jugs. Today, their popularity shows no signs of waning and they hold their price at auction sales. Their appeal is wide reaching because Doulton jugs are varied both in their craftsmanship and their subject matter. The first Toby Jug was made in the early 18th century. It was a jovial, seated, male figure, with a mug in his hand and a tricorn hat which made a pouring spout. He was dressed in clothes of the time; a long coat with low pockets, waistcoat, cravat, knee breeches and buckled shoes. No one really knows why he was named ‘Toby’ although it is possible he called after Sir Toby Belch a character in Shakespeare’s Twelth Night. Or maybe it was after a song popular in 1761, around the time the jug was first produced in a traditional, brown salt glaze version. The song ‘Brown Jug’ featured ‘Toby Fillpot’. Doulton had made Toby jugs in the traditional manner since 1815 but in the 1920’s Harry Simeon added colour. This inspired Charles Noke, a Doulton artist and modeller to rethink the Toby jug tradition. He envisaged a more colourful and stylish jug based on the head and sholders of a character rather than the full figure. He had in mind characters from English song, literature, history and legend, designed to appeal to future generations. It took him almost ten years to be satisfied with the standards of design and production, but in 1934 the first character jug was launched. He chose as his subject John Barleycorn, a figure symbolising whisky. It became an instant success and the range was added to with Old Charley, the Night Watchman, Sairey Gamp, Parson Brown and Dick Turpin. Two years later the first character jug modelled on a real person was made with Herry Fenton’s John Peel, a trend which has continued to the present day. A feature of character jugs is their handle which often shows an elaborate diversity of applied decoration. However, this is a feature which has developed over the years. The first jugs generally had plain handles, with one or two exceptions, for some of the clown jugs had multi-coloured handles, Dick Turpin had a gun for a handle and the Cellerer a bunch of keys. It was during the 1950s that the handles achieved greater creative significance when Max Henk was involved in their production. His Long John Silver had a parrot handle and for the sake authenticity does not have an eye patch, sticking to Louis Stevenson’s book ‘ Treasure Island’. The handles developed to tell more about the character and their associations, so the Dutchess from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ has a flamingo handle, the Mikado, a fan. More recently, the London ‘Bobby’ has both a whistle and Big Ben. The character jug from 1996 shows how far this trend has developed in the model of Jesse Owen who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. This handle contains the Olympic torch, a contemporary US flag of the time and a banner inscribed with the name of the Olympic town ‘Berlin’. Character Jugs Variations Sometimes variations have been made to handle design without altering the overall style of the jug. The Beefeater Guard who guards the Tower of London was introduced in 1947 and carried the initials GR on his handle for George Rex. In 1953 when Elizabeth II came to the throne, these were changed to ER, Elizabeth Regina. There was also a version with gold handle, now more valuable. In 1991 a completely new updated design shows the trend for more elaborate handles with its raven, the birds which legend says signifiy the fall of London should they ever leave the Tower. Other handle variations which help to date the character jugs are the easrly versions of John Barleycorn. The first plain handle disappeared inside the jug at their top end. Later handles were attached to the outside. Early versions of Stairey Gamp have an ‘S’ at the bottom end of the handle. There have also been limited editions of handle design. Founder members of the Doulton Collectors Club were offered versions of John Doulton with the clock on the handle pointing to eight o’clock. Members who joined at a later date find the clock points to two o’clock. Rare Character Jugs Other factors which aid dating and can affect value includes colour variations. For instance, the first clown range of jugs produced in the 1930s had red hair and multi-coloured handles, but due to the war time restrictions on supply of materials, the hair during the war years was changed to brown. Between 1951 and 1955 hair colour had changed to white. Red or brown haired clowns are two-three times more valuable than the white ones, but the most valuable if the one-off black haired clown, commissioned by a family whose grandfather was a black haired clown. This was sold at auction a few years ago for £12,000. Old King Cole designed by Harry Fenton had a yellow crown in 1938-1939 and a green handle and is vastly more valuable than the versions produced after until 1960, which had reddish-borwn crown and handle. Even more valuable are the versions which contain musical movement, produced in 1939. One of these sold at Phillips for £1,092. The Mad Hatter, from Alice in Wonederland woar a black hat in the original but ten years ago a red hatted Hatter came to the market and was sold for over £6,000. It appears that in the 1960’s a painter in the factory changed the colour of the hat and this was produced for a short period before it was discontinued. Another example are the colour variations in the buttons, hat coat and feather boa of Hary Fenton’s character jugs of the cockney pair ‘Arry […]
The architect Josef Hoffmann, the painter and graphic designer Koloman Moser, and patron Fritz Waerndorfer founded the Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna Workshop, in 1903. It was a successful association in Vienna, Austria, that brought together architects, artists, designers, and artisans working in the fields of ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture, and the graphic arts. The Wiener Werkstätte was known for their wide variety of styles in glassware and we take a look at some of the designers and their glass designs. The glass designers of the Wiener Werkstätte produced beautiful pieces that were both decorative and functional. Some of the most popular styles included enameled glass, opaque glass, and cut glass. The Workshop also produced a wide variety of stemware, including wine glasses, champagne flutes, and cocktail glasses. Their glassware was highly sought after by collectors and is still considered to be some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau glassware ever created. Some of the most famous glass designers of the Workshop were Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Otto Prutscher and Dagobert Peche. Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) was a co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte and is credited with creating many of its most iconic designs, including the Hoffmann vase. He was known for his unique and innovative use of color in his glass pieces including amethyst, as well as his distinctive geometric patterns.Hoffman’s glass creations, many of which were panel-cut and emulated the shape of early 19th-century Biedermeir glass, were centred on decorative form up until the 1920s. He designs included a range of cameo glass which was typically Viennese, with vertical lines and stylised bell-flowers and geometric shapes. One of his most famous designs is the simple Amethyst Vase, which was made in glass and features a stunning amethyst color.Josef Hoffmann Bowl Moser Karlsbad for the Wiener Werkstätte c1910 Koloman Moser (1868-1918) was also a co-founder of the Workshop and was responsible for designing many of its early catalogs and promotional materials. He is best known for his colorful and intricate glass pieces, which often featured floral motifs. The designs were executed by Bakalowitz and by Loetz. Moser’s work was quite radical and many designs were acid-cut on overlay and embellished with enamelling. Moser was also known for adding ball feet to some of his work. Austrian Otto Prutscher (1880-1949) was a key member of the Wiener Werkstätte more famous for his jewllery and silver, but he was also a renowned glass designer. He was heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, and his glass designs are often intricate and ornate, with curving lines and natural forms. Many of his pieces feature etched or cut-glass designs, and are often decorated with gold or silver leaf. His glass table lamps are extremely rare and valuable and his glasses are especially sort after. Prutscher designed and created a suite of glasses in a range of colours including red, black, green and yellow. The stems of these glass were overly long and often featured a trademark chequered motif. The bowl of the glass was often as large as the base. Single glasses have sold for £5000 / 6000 Euros. Many of Prutscher’s designs were made by the Bohemian glass factory Meyr’s Neffe. Dagobert Peche (1887-1923) was a member of the Wiener Werkstätte from 1915 until his death in 1923. He specialized in glass design, and his work is characterized by its simplicity and elegance, often with freely-placed graphic motifs. His pieces were often made in collaboration with the ceramicist Josef Hoffmann, and the two artists frequently exhibited their work together. In addition to his work for the Wiener Werkstätte. Peche also designed glassware for companies such as Lobmeyr and Moser. It is not unusual for different decorators to work on designed pieces. It is known that Dagobert Peche decorated many of Josef Hoffmann’s designs. Pieces by actual Wiener Werkstätte glass designers are very desirable and valuable. If it is not certain a designer created a piece it may be attributed to them. Other notable Wiener Werkstätte designers include Maria Kirschner, Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill and Karl Pohl.
Evenings are longer now, and traditionally this is the time of year when witches shake the dust from their broomsticks to take off into the skies, black cats polish their whiskers and wizards settle down with their spell books and a goblet of something tasty made from newts. Harry Potter is big business, and as well as dvds, keyrings, mugs and sticker books there are some stunning dolls made in his likeness, and those of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and the rest of the Hogwarts’ inhabitants. Ever since Harry first appeared – ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, was released in 2001 – dolls have been made as tie-ins with the films, and it has been fascinating to watch these dolls develop, reflecting the growing up of the children in the films. So far, the films which have appeared are ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, ‘Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, ‘Goblet of Fire’, ‘Order of the Phoenix’ and the latest ‘Half-Blood Prince’, and as each hits the cinemas, so a new range of toys and dolls reaches the shops. Not all of the dolls are intended just for children, either! When Robert Tonner, a prestigious American designer, announced in 2005 that he intended to issue a line of Harry Potter dolls, collectors were intrigued. The first doll in the series, ‘Harry Potter at Hogwarts’ featured Harry in his school outfit of grey sweater and flannel trousers with a black robe, and was breathtaking; this was a perfect Harry! Most of the dolls in the series stand around 17 inches tall, and feature 17 points of articulation, which means they are eminently poseable. They have hand-painted faces and the modelling is excellent. Since that initial release, other Tonner versions of Harry have appeared, such as Harry in his Quidditch outfit and Harry ready for the Yule Ball. The Quidditch Harry features him dressed in a custom knit sweater over racing trousers and shin guards. His red and yellow house robe bears the Gryffindor crest. A magnificent Firebolt broomstick is available separately. The Yule Ball version is a rather sinister Harry, in a long black robe over a formal shirt, trousers, waistcoat and bow tie. A model of Hedwig, his owl, can be purchased to add a finishing touch by perching it on Harry’s arm. The Ron and Hermione dolls are equally stunning, especially the Yule Ball versions. Ron at the Yule Ball wears his vintage tapestry robe – the subject of much mirth in the book – over a frilled formal shirt, trousers and velvet bow tie. His ginger hair is set off well by the autumnal shades of his robe. Hermione is beautiful in her long ball gown in graduated shades of purple chiffon ruffles, and with her upswept hair styled in ringlets around her face. The company also sells casual outfits which the three friends can wear for weekend outings. Now Tonner has added more characters, such as Draco Malfoy, Cho Chang, Professor Snape and Voldemort. Even Dobby, Kreacher, Crookshanks, Fawkes and the Sorting Hat are included in the Tonner creations, which means that keen collectors can act out the stories through their dolls if they want, or arrange them in scenes from the books or films on a shelf. Perhaps the most handsome of the dolls is the fair-haired Draco Malfoy, which conveys not only a sense of smouldering evil, but also of smouldering good looks. Draco has also been created as a ‘special’ in his Quidditch outfit. The delightful Cho Chang is charming in her school uniform, while the elegant Yule ball version features her in an embroidered kimono-style dress. Of course, Tonner aren’t the only company to have made Harry Potter dolls; amongst others are Gotz, Mattel, Vivid Imaginations and Gund. Gund created a series of plush dolls a few years ago, skilfully modelled with flocked-felt faces. They also produced a range of all-fabric dolls. Mattel too made soft-bodied dolls featuring Harry and his friends. These Mattel dolls, which were some of the earliest Harry Potter commemorative dolls, were 12 inches high and featured thick yarn hair. Each doll came with an appropriate charm – Harry had an owl, Ron a dragon, whilst Hermione had a hat. Hagrid, the burly half-giant, has been made as plush toy by both Gund and Vivid Imaginations Various smaller dolls have appeared over the last decade. Mattel have been responsible for several ranges, amongst them the ‘Wizard Sweets’ series, which featured 8 inch high dolls packed in sweet shop illustrated boxes and included various sweet-themed items. They also produced moulded figures in assorted sizes, incorporating some of the characters not normally issued as dolls, such as Dumbledore and Ginny Weasley, and even a model of the Hogwarts Express, all ready to leave from platform 9¾ . Gund, too, produce unusual characters – they make an excellent ‘Fluffy’ (three headed dog), baby Norbert (dragon), Hedwig (owl) and Mrs Norris (Kneazle), all created from soft plush or fabric. They even make a golden snitch with pearly fabric wings, ready for a game of Quidditch. In 2002 the German Gotz company released a set of three excellent characters – Harry, Ron and Hermione. Each doll was 18 inches high, and the modelling was impressive. Their costumes were very detailed and excellently constructed and the character faces were slightly quirky These dolls were limited editions, but surprisingly, although they were so well-made (and expensive, around £100), they don’t sell for much on the secondary market at present. I would expect these to be ‘sleeper dolls’, which will suddenly rise in value. Character dolls, especially the top-of the range kinds, such as those featured here by Gotz and Robert Tonner, are usually a good investment for the collector.The world of entertainment is volatile, and so personalities tend to come and go. Soon, there will be no new Harry Potter films, and manufacturers will turn to different films for inspiration. Then the Harry Potter dolls, especially those which have been kept mint in box, will come into their own. DID YOU KNOW? […]
Robert Harrop created this wonderful set of official Roald Dahl figurines based on the illustrations by Quentin Blake in 2003. There are 27 figurines in the collection featuring all of Dahl’s most famous characters with RD01 being Willy Wonka. As with all Harrop figurines they are very accurate and a true portrayal of Blakes illustrations. The Roald Dahl Robert Harrop collection is very collectable and is one of the few collections increasing in value. Robert Harrop Roald Dahl figurines RD01 Willy Wonka RD02 Charlie Bucket RD03 The BFG RD04 Mr Twit RD05 Mrs Twit RD06 Matilda RD07 Georges Marvelous Medicine RD08 Fantastic Mr Fox RD09 The Grand High Witch RD10 The Enormous Crocodile RD11 The Giraffe, the pelly and me RD12 Alfie RD13 James and the Grasshopper RD14 The magic finger RD15 Miss Trunchbull RD16 Violet Beauregarde RD17 Grandpa Joe RD18 Danny the champion of the world RD19 Badger RD20 Augustus Gloop RD21 Boggis RD22 Bunce RD23 Bean RD24 Veruca Salt RD25 Mike Teavee RDCP Collection plaque RDLE1 Dream Catcher/BFG For more information about Robert Harrop visit https://www.robertharrop.com/
Beads, Bobs And Babies – Dolls in The 1920s by Sue Brewer What a time it was! Carefree, sparkling, crazy; the 1920s was a decade for the young. It was fashionable to be youthful, with thin bodies, no busts and long legs ending in strappy-shoes. Parties were held at the slightest excuse, and dances such as the Charleston were all the rage, performed by arm-flailing, leg-kicking youngsters in fringed and beaded dresses with feathered headbands worn low across their foreheads. The Music-hall was still popular, with roguish singers such as Marie Lloyd playing to packed houses every night, while wind-up gramophones ensured that music was always available – and at least one member at every celebratory gathering was an ace piano-player. My grandmother held parties in her flat next door to the Palace Theatre in Walthamstow, and the artistes would call in after the show, dancing and singing and filling the air with laughter and love, something her children would always remember. She was one of the first so-called `flappers` in the area, rushing to get her hair bobbed as soon as she heard of the fashion. There was a feeling of optimism – the devastating Great War was over – and women were becoming much more independent. During the hostilities, they had worked in previously male-dominated occupations, and having acquired a taste for freedom and life outside the home environment, were determined not to give it up again. Naturally, not everyone was affected by this wave of euphoria. Thousands of people lived in abject poverty, and families still grieved for the men who never returned from the war. In Britain, King George V and Queen Mary were popular monarchs, and George had spent much of the War visiting the troops abroad. He wanted to fight for his country, but was not permitted as it was feared he could be captured as a prize hostage. Queen Mary was very fond of dolls and was presented with a wonderful doll`s house, exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It can still be viewed today at Windsor Castle. This enormous, five foot tall house, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, contains hundreds of items made by crafts people of the time, such as tiny bottles filled with champagne, ornamental figurines, Doulton china, Cartier clocks and carved furniture. It boasts running water, electric lights and a working lift. German dolls were exceedingly popular during the 1920s, and it was during this time that Armand Marseille introduced one of his most popular lines with the `My Dream Baby` doll. This pretty baby, with a bisque porcelain head, is a favourite amongst today`s collectors. Available in several sizes, with a hard or soft body and in various `skin tones`, there was one to suit every little girl. There was even a choice of open or closed mouths. The open-mouth My Dream Baby was marked with the mould number 351 and was bald-headed with a moulded few curls. Her mouth revealed two tiny bottom teeth. These babies featured the recently-introduced bent-limbed body (as opposed to the `traditional` straight-limbed bodies jointed at knees and elbows.) The closed-mouth version, mould number 341, is particularly sought after today. She has a rather dreamy expression and sweetly-shaped lips, and is not quite so plentiful as her open-mouthed sister. My Dream Baby dolls had either flange or socket heads (indicated by a letter `K` on the back of the neck), and could be obtained as caucasian, black or oriental types, though no attempt was made to alter the features, it was just the colouring which differed. The oriental dolls had a creamy complexion, while the colour of the black dolls varied from milk-to-dark chocolate brown. In America, Grace Storey Putnam developed another top-selling baby doll, the Bye-Lo baby, which was introduced shortly before My Dream Baby – though Armand Marseille claimed he had designed his doll first but not produced it! The Bye-Lo had more realistic face-modelling than the Dream Baby, managing to achieve a `screwed-up` look with the porcelain. Apparently, it was based on a new-born baby, and little creases were put into the composition limbs. Issued in 1922, these sweet dolls became nicknamed the `million dollar babies` because they were so much in demand. They were made by various German companies, including Kestner. Many other manufacturers such as Ernst Heubach, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and Simon & Halbig produced bisque dolls at this time, most using the new bent-limbed baby-type body, though girl dolls with multi-jointed bodies were still available. Armand Marseille made other baby types, too, including a particularly attractive character-faced 990 mould. This doll was produced in various sizes, and the larger-than-life model tended to find its way into shop windows, where it was used to model baby wear. Babies were in fashion, because a very special little girl was born in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became Queen Elizabeth II. Little all-bisque dolls were popular, too. These could fit into a dolls` house, or neatly into a pocket to be carried around as a child`s companion. During the Great War, when German exports were discouraged, Japanese dolls made from a coarse white bisque had been introduced, but now, the finer-quality German dolls were back in the shops. Celluloid, wood and cloth dolls were also produced, with manufacturers such Dean`s issuing exquisite moulded-cotton-faced dolls, including the Princess doll from 1927, Posy dolls, boudoir dolls and a range using the newly-developed `Evripose` jointing system. Chad Valley was another company manufacturing cloth dolls at this time; these beautiful dolls featured moulded-felt faces with glass eyes. Their dolls included the Bambina series, made from felt and velvet, and a leggy Boudoir doll. Norah Wellings, originally a designer with Chad Valley, began producing her own collection of dolls during the 1920s, setting up a factory in Shropshire. Her Cora dolls featured felt faces, velveteen bodies and were dressed in pretty frilly frocks. Later she became known for her cheeky sailor dolls. The […]