During the Wartime years of the 1940s, and for a few years afterwards, books for adults and children alike were economy editions, due to paper shortages and restrictions.
200 years of Frankenstein books, collectables and toys With the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, what better time than to look the work that still inspires new editions, collectables and toys. Authored by Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) when she was just 19 years old, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London in 1818 to a mixed reception. Frankenstein tells the story of gifted scientist Victor Frankenstein who succeeds in giving life to a being of his own creation. However, this is not the perfect specimen he imagines that it will be, but rather a hideous creature who is rejected by Victor and mankind in general. The Monster seeks its revenge through murder and terror. The book is much more complex than the modern re-workings and films that most of us know the story through and is Number 8 in The Guardians Top 100 Best Novels. The first edition of Frankenstein was published in three volumes on New Year’s Day 1818, anonymously and dedicated to William Godwin. The Shelley’s Ghost exhibition at the Bodleian says of the book “According to When Shelley sent the fair copy manuscript of the novel to the publishers, Shelley made clear that it was not his work, but did not reveal who the author was: ‘I ought to have mentioned that the novel which I sent you is not my own production, but that of a friend who not being at present in England cannot make the correction you suggest. As to any mere inaccuracies of language I should feel myself authorized to amend them when revising proofs.’ Nevertheless, when they saw the dedication to Godwin some readers, including Sir Walter Scott, speculated that Shelley was the author.” (Details of the Shelley’s Ghost exhibition are still available online and includes information on not only Mary Shelley and her drafts of Frankenstein but also Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft – visit https://shelleysghost.bodleian.ox.ac.uk for more details). The first edition of 1818 was issued in an edition of just 500. A second edition appeared in 1822 to cash in on the success of a stage version, Presumption. A third edition, extensively revised, came out in 1831. For collectors the ultimate would be a first edition but this is one of rarest and most valuable books. Very few Frankenstein first editions come to market: a rebound first edition sold for $58,000 in April 2017 at Heritage Auctions. The most exciting edition to come to market was an edition actually inscribed to Lord Byron himself. The edition was presented to market by Peter Harrington Rare Books – the exact sale price is unknown but expected to be in excess of £350,000. Early editions of the book are sort after especially the third edition in October 1831 which included a new 8-page introduction by the author, and was issued with the first part of Schiller’s The Ghost-Seer! as volume 9 of Bentley’s ‘Standard Novels’. This was also the first single edition as well as the first illustrated edition. A very good clean copy was sold by Forum Auctions in May 2017 for £2,600. For many people the Frankenstein that they recognise is from the 1931 film of the same name, where Boris Karloff played the monster. The Frankenstein horror monster film from Universal Pictures was directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling. The movie stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Karloff, and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by John L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Fort with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by multiple sequels and has become arguably the most iconic horror film in history. The iconic posters and lobby cards from the movie are amongst the most collectable and expensive of all the Frankenstein items. In 2015 the most valuable Frankenstein movie poster ever sold at public auction by Heritage Auctions. The poster was found in a long closed and boarded-up projection booth in a Long Island theater and is the only 6-foot example from the 1931 Universal horror classic known to exist. The poster sold for an amazing $358,000 (click for more details on the poster). The same company also sold another rare 1931 Frankenstein poster for $262,900 (click for more details on the poster). Although the 1931 movie version of Frankenstein is iconic one that most merchandise and collectables are based on, the first Frankenstein film adaptation was made by Edison Studios in 1910 and written and directed by J. Searle Dawley, with Charles Ogle as the Monster. The brief (16 min.) story has Frankenstein chemically create his creature in a vat. The monster haunts the scientist until Frankenstein’s wedding night, when true love causes the creature to vanish. For many years, this film was believed lost. The Edison version was followed soon after by another adaptation entitled Life Without Soul (1915), directed by Joseph W. Smiley, starring William A. Cohill as Dr. William Frawley, a modern-day Frankenstein who creates a soulless man, played to much critical praise by Percy Standing, who wore little make-up in the role. The film was shot at various locations around the United States, and reputedly featured much spectacle. In the end, it turns out that a young man has dreamed the events of the film after falling asleep reading Mary Shelley’s novel. This film is now considered a lost film. There was also at least one European film version, the Italian Il Mostro di Frankenstein (“The Monster of Frankenstein”) in 1921. The film’s producer Luciano Albertini essayed the role of Frankenstein, with the creature being played by Umberto Guarracino, and Eugenio Testa directing from a screenplay by Giovanni Drivetti. The film is also now considered a lost film. (Source Wikipedia). Frankenstein has featured in hundreds of films since 1931. My favourites would be those featuring Abbot t and Costello and the films by Hammer. The Frankenstein Hammer films included The Curse of […]
If you are a fan of the works of William de Morgan, then a visit to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford should be on your itinerary. The De Morgan Foundation has on semi-permanent loan, since 2017, a fine collection of William de Morgan works. The display includes tiles, dishes, and vases, and works from different periods and factories. Below are some images from the collection. William de Morgan Related Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – https://www.ashmolean.org/ De Morgan Collection – https://www.demorgan.org.uk/ William De Morgan – the Arts & Crafts Pioneer William De Morgan Price Guide
The term Fairing can be designated to anything obtained at a Fair, but the term has become exclusively attached to small porcelain figures & figure groups, and sometimes trinket boxes, match strikers, pin holders and spill holders that were given away as prizes or sold at the local Fair. They were usually humorous and sometimes risque, and for the majority they had captions inscribed on their base. Pictured right: A fairing entitled Modesty Sold for £41 at Bonhams, Honiton, 2006. Pride of place on the maid’s mantelpiece was often given to a colourful figure ornament known as a fairing – a treasured memento of a rare day at the local fair. Tony Curtis Pictured left: A Fairing pinbox titled Shall we sleep first or how? Sold for £41 at Bonhams, Honiton, 2006. Fairings were very popular from 1860 to just after the death of Queen Victoria, and costing just a few pence they were popular amongst the working class who would value and collect the Fairings, as a reminder of the day at the fair. The Fair during the mid 19th century was often an annual holiday for the local community. As the century progressed, the growth of the railways and transport networks led to increased mobility and the commercial importance of the Fair decreased. During the later part of the century Fairings were more likely to be sold in shops than be a prize at the Fair. Pictured right: This large collection of Fairings was sold by Christies in Amsterdam in 2004. The collection included over 200 assorted Fairings, of which 22 were impressed with the Shield for the Conte & Boehme Factory, Pössneck, Germany. The Fairings wer sold for 14,938 EUROS. Although seemingly quintessentially British the main production of Fairings was in Germany and in particular the Conta & Boehme 0f Possneck, Saxony. The German potteries were technologically advanced and were ale to produce the small brightly coloured, gilded Fairing pieces cheaply for the mass market. The Fairings were made of white soft-paste porcelain and would be assembled from several moulds, fired, glazed, fired a second time and subsequently had painted and gilded. Conta & Boehme made Fairings from about 1860 to 1914. Several other factories in the area also produced Fairings but generally to a lesser quality, until the start of World War I ended the trade. The subject matter for the Fairings was influenced by ideas from their British agents – many of the Fairings were based on courtship, marriage, everyday life, popular songs, characters and events from the period. The Fairings featured maidens, newly weds, drunks, couples and figures of fun. Some more serious Fairings were produced but the majority were light hearted and great fun. Towards the end of the time that Fairing were being created there was a shift towards more sentimental scenes. With the great variation in Fairing models, their humour and their colourful appearance, Fairings are popular with collectors. Today Fairings can still be purchased relatively cheaply £20-£30 ($30-$50), but early Conta & Boehme studies, rare pieces and Fairings with unusual captions have the most value. Books on Victorian Fairings
For collectors of Royal Doulton, Leslie Harradine is a well known name having designed some of the most famous and iconic Doulton figures including the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series. He was prolific and modelled figures for Doulton from the late 1920s to the 1950s, as well as initially designing vases for the Lambeth Art Studios. His first figure for Doulton was Contentment with model number HN389. In 1929 he created another model Contentment featuring a Mother and Child sleeping (model HN1323). Although known as Leslie Harradine he was born Arthur Leslie Harradine in Lambeth to parents Charles Percy and Jessie Harradine (nee Tealby) in 1887. He first joined the Doulton Lambeth studio as an apprentice in 1902 working under George Tinworth, whilst at the same time studying at the Camberwell School of Arts. He initially worked in the studios on vases and Toby jugs, but his main interest was in clay sculpture and the design of free standing figures. His designs came to the attention of Charles Noke who was Art Director at the time but as he was not able to model figures as much as he wanted or to start his own factory he actually left Doulton in 1912 to start a farm with his brother Percy in Canada. Farming proved difficult, but when possible Leslie continued to create and paint models from clay. In 1916 Leslie and his brother Percy left Canada for the Great War. He was injured and whilst in hospital he met his future wife Edith Denton whom he married in 1917, and the following year became a father to his first child Jessie. Leslie and his family moved back to England in 1918 with the intention of opening a studio in London. Shortly after his return Charles Noke offered Leslie a job as a figure designer at the Burslem. However, the position was refused but eventually he agreed to work on a freelance basis and in 1920 his Royal Doulton figure entitled Contentment was released. Harradine modelled and created figures for Royal Doulton on a freelance basis for over forty years. He had a way of working peculiar to him and probably only allowed because of his undeniable talent and genius – he would decide what to model and when to send those models in to the factory at Burslem, sometimes up to three at a time, on a monthly basis. It is said that the other designers and painters would all gather round eagerly when his monthly shipment was unpacked to see what he had “come up with this time”. Many iconic and popular models were created, as well as series of models including those already mentioned earlier in the feature the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series but also figures from his rendition of The Beggars Opera, and the famous and slightly risque models of The Bather. Many of Harradine’s models stayed in production for many years but some only for a year or two. These models are often the rarest and sometimes the most valuable. Harradine’s last model for Doulton was The Beggar with a model number HN2175 and was released in 1956 and was produced until 1962. Arthur ‘Leslie’ Harradine died on 6 December 1965, in Gibraltar at age 78, leaving an amazing legacy of models and designs that makes him one of the world’s finest modellers. Related George Tinworth – The Greatest Doulton Lambeth Designer
We are not the only ones who celebrate Christmas – dolls do, too! Often, manufacturers issue their regular lines festively dressed in Christmas colours of red and green, or maybe silver, gold or white. They trim the costumes with white ‘fur’, tinsel, glitter or sparkly sequins – anything to make the doll look more Christmassy. Sometimes a Christmas special is dressed as a fairy, Santa or a character from a pantomime or fairy tale. Usually these dolls are made in limited numbers and, because they are sold for such a short period, eventually become very collectable. Teen dolls are often issued as Christmas Specials, such as the delightful Festive Sindy issued by Hasbro in 1997. She was dressed in a gold-flecked red gown with white fur trim, her hair covered by a fur-edged hood. More recently, Vivid Imaginations produced a Christmas Sindy, only available through Argos. Sindy was dressed in a short red Santa-style mini-dress, worn with a cap and cape, all edged in white fur. This doll is sure to become a future collectable. Barbie features in the ‘Happy Holidays’ collection which began in 1988, in a variety of gowns such as the full-skirted black & silver velvet ballgown worn with a dramatic cerise satin stole, dating from 1998. Her fabulous gowns use luxury fabrics in shades of green, scarlet, gold or white. The smaller dolls in the Barbie range, such as Maura, also often appear in festive mood. A couple of years ago, Maura was dressed as Winter in a pretty white and ice-blue dress scattered with snowflakes, and sporting a fetching pair of teddy earmuffs. Occasionally, dolls are issued in Christmas play sets. A few years ago the enchanting Madeline dolls, based on a character originally created by Ludwig Bemelmans in the 1930s, included a festive set in their range. Madeline is a pupil at a Parisienne school run by nuns, and dolls representing her and her friends were made by Eden in the 1990s, but have now been taken over by Learning Curve. The Madeline Christmas Gift set comprised a seven and a half inch tall doll wearing a santa-type outfit of a red dress edged with white fur and a matching hat, white lacy socks and black shoes. She had a felt Christmas tree and a tartan stocking. Learning Curve introduced large Holiday Madelines – soft cloth dolls dressed in red or green Christmas outfits. The German company, Zapf, makers of Baby Born, Annabell and Chou Chou, produce Christmas outfits for their dolls each year. Recent BabyBorn festive get-ups have included a dark red velour dress worn over Christmas-patterned tights, finished off with a jaunty, star-trimmed velour hat, a red long-sleeved dress with a matching flower-trimmed head band, and an unusual white and blue creation. A Christmas play set was also amongst the recently-discontinued Zapf Baby Born Miniworld series of dolls. This tiny baby doll, just four and a half inches tall, was dressed in a sweet red fleecy outfit and white bib embroidered with a Christmas motif. She wa s seated on a soft red beanbag with her teddy, beside a Christmas tree, and her box was designed to look like a festively-decorated nursery. Until recently, Zapf made excellent designer dolls, and amongst them was Rolanda Heimer’s Siggi, a nineteen inch tall baby with blonde hair. He was dressed in fleecy red hooded jacket with a knitted clown motif, and beige cord trousers. He came with a cd of Christmas carols. Anne Geddes ‘Baby Santa’ was issued a few years ago and is now quite difficult to find. Anne is famous for her photographs of babies dressed as animals, flowers and insects and a whole range of dolls based on the photos were made by Unimax, including rabbits, bears, butterflies and sunflowers. Baby Santa is a smiling, slightly podgy baby doll wearing a red Santa outfit. The box bears photographs of the real babies on which the doll was modelled. Woolworths often produce dolls in Christmas themed outfits, recently they were selling Christmas Holly, under their Chad Valley label, a sweet-faced sixteen inch baby dressed in a red dress, Santa hat, green bag and with adorable crocheted red shoes. Cabbage Patch Kids have featured in several Christmas issues over the years, including a 1990s Special Edition set of Holiday Babies by Mattel. Dressed in various outfits, such as a red needlecord dress trimmed with lace, a delightful white satin dress with a net overlay sprinkled with gold stars, or green corduroy shorts and a red tartan waistcoat, these are an excellent addition to a festive collection. Mattel also produced Christmas Cabbage Patch dolls in their Garden Fairies series, including some Wal-Mart exclusives. Poinsettia, Winter Holly and Winter Lily were obtainable in the UK, but the Wal-Mart versions were sold in the US, so aren’t often seen in Britain. These sweet dolls are ‘Holiday Scented’! Soft dolls by companies such as Ty and JellyCat are often found, and many stores and supermarkets sell Christmas specials, such as the cloth dolls sometimes sold by Tesco at Christmas. Ty’s Beanie-Boppers, with names such as Jolly Janie, Holiday Heidi, Merry Margaret and Christmas Carol, wear festive outfits. Carol has a green long-pile jacket over a gold-spotted red velour mini-dress trimmed with long-pile ‘fur’ and thigh-length boots. Her blonde hair is crimped and curled, and she has a Santa hat to match her dress. A similar range are the smiley eight inch character dolls from Jellycat, such as Princess Icecapade, obviously ready for the winter freeze with her ice-skates, and Holly Blooming Babe (wearing a holly-leaf skirt with a red berry belt). Toys ‘R’ Us have featured Christmas specials in their line of eleven and a half inch Jessica teen dolls. She has appeared in a long red gown with gold panels and a white fur cape, or a sophisticated white satin dress with a black bodice and stole. Vivid Imaginations have produced Holiday Bratz dolls, in both large and the ‘Baby Bratz’ versions, dressed in beautiful, frothy […]
Cats are surrounded with superstition, black cats especially so. In ancient Egypt, cats were revered, the black ones being most omnipotent of all.
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Collectables – 2022 will be a very special year for Her Majesty The Queen with the celebrations of her Platinum Jubilee. As with many special Royal anniversaries and events there are a lot of special editions, memorabilia and collectables being designed and produced. We take a look at some of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Collectables available for this amazing event. Halcyon Days Halcyon Days have created some very special pieces including baubles and a music box. Platinum Anniversary Queen Elizabeth II Toby Jugs from Bairstow Pottery Bairstow Pottery have released a special Platinum Anniversary Queen Elizabeth II Toby Jug. The edition is being released in five colourways: Dark Blue, Green, Grey, Light Blue and Pink. Each colour being one of the Queen’s favourites. Each jug is hand painted and features embellishment completed by using real platinum. The edition has been modelled by Bairstow Pottery’s lead designer Ray Noble. Click for more information Steiff The Steiff Platinum Jubilee Bear is available exclusively from The Danbury Mint. The teddy is being produced until the 2nd June 2023 – the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation. She is being made in a caramel and cream coloured mohair is fully jointed and will measure approximately 10½” (26cm) standing. As a Steiff bear she has the classic Steiff ‘button’ and white tag with red writing attached to her ear and also wears a purple bow and a medal featuring a picture of The Queen saying 70 Golden Years. Her paws are finished with the Queen’s cypher and the dates of her reign. A lovely bear priced at £249 which can be pre-ordered for delivery in August. The Royal Mint The Royal Mint is creating several different sets including a new 50p and a £5 Crown designed by John Bergdahl. The commemorative Platinum Jubilee portrait depicts Her Majesty on horseback and two beautifully decorative reverse designs for the occasion. The collection also includes the first UK 50p coin issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate a royal event, which features a bold, graphical celebration of The Queen’s reign by the design agency Osborne Ross on the reverse. The obverse features the Platinum Jubilee portrait. For more details visit https://www.royalmint.com/ The Royal Collection The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most widely distributed art collections in the world. Running to more than a million objects, it is a unique and valuable record of the personal tastes of kings and queens over the past 500 years. In addition to the well-known paintings, drawings and other works of art, the Collection includes almost the entire contents of all the royal palaces. The Royal Collection create items and collectables for sale online and the shops such as Windsor Castle, Holyrood Palace, and The Garden Shop at Buckingham Palace. A number of Platinum Jubilee collectables and gifts are available including plates, tea sets, crystal, clocks, pill boxes etc. For more information visit The Royal Collection Shop.
Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. To mark 60 years of The Queen’s reign the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will centre around an extended weekend in 2012 on 2, 3, 4 and 5 June. Pictured right: A selection of Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Collectables As with many Royal events collectable companies, gift producers and memorabilia makers have been working over time to produce a wide range of collectables for collectors. World Collectors Net takes a look at some gifts on offer. Lilliput Lane Lilliput Lane has taken the opportunity of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to revitalize their popular Britain’s Heritage™ collection to incorporate Jubilee celebrations. The four Jubilee pieces are: Jubilee Tower Bridge, Jubilee Big Ben, Jubilee Tower of London and Jubilee at Windsor Round Tower. Pictured right: Jubilee at the Crown Inn and Jubilee at the Windsor Round Tower These iconic landmarks have been adorned with bunting, flags, gems and a commemorative plaque. All of these superb miniatures of our finest buildings will only be available during 2012 and are produced in a Limited Edition of 2,012 pieces each. Another special cottage has been produced to celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty-year reign, again only available during 2012. Picked for its name, The Crown Inn — a delightful eighteenth-century pub from St Ewe, Cornwall — has inspired the 2012 Anniversary Cottage, Jubilee at The Crown Inn. Caverswall English Fine Bone China Caverswall China was founded in 1973 and is starting to gain an excellent reputation for its Commemorative Ware. In 2011 they produced a number of pieces for the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Pictured right: A selection of Caverswall China celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee For the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Caverswall China have created a 10″ plate, 8″ coupe, Edinburgh Mug, 3″ round box, 4″ round sweet dish, a lionhead beaker and an excellent Durham Vase. Border Fine Arts Border Fine Arts have introduced three models featuring the Queen. As with all Border Fine Arts models their is great attention to detail and the models show the Queen at various times during her reign including Trooping the Colour in 1952, Newly Crowned in 1953 and the Her Majesty at Balmoral. Pictured left: Trooping the Colour 1952 – Celebrating the Queen’s sixty-year reign, the figurine depicts Her Majesty at the Trooping the Colour parade of 1952, her first as Sovereign. Wearing the scarlet tunic of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Guards and the blue ribbon of the Order of the Garter, Her Majesty is elegantly poised on her chestnut horse, Winston. The black plume on her tricorn hat is in remembrance of her father, His Majesty King George VI, who died four months previously. Pictured right: Her Majesty at Balmoral – This delightful figurine depicts Her Majesty in a relaxed pose at the Balmoral Estate, where she can unwind and enjoy some of her favourite things. Here, her beloved corgis are never far from her side and many have been recorded on what can only be considered some of the most endearing photographs ever taken of the Queen. Tiny is on her knee and Brush is at her feet. Caithness Glass Caithness Glass have produced a number of editions including the fabulous Limited Edition Elizabeth Rose Garland paperweight (Pink and red roses with entwined stems sit alongside sprigs of myrtle in this diamond shaped weight) and Magnum paperweight (Shimmering sand and dichroic shards of glass to form the internal design inside this magnum sized paperweight). Pictured left and right: Elizabeth Rose Garland Limited Edition Paperweight and Magnum – Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Limited Edition Paperweight Also available is the Crown paperweight, Rose paperweight, Elizabeth Rose Garland paperweight, Coat of Arms paperweight, Sand Rose paperweight and Penny Black Sandcast paperweight. Carters Teapots Tony Carter the UK’s leading teapot designer and created two new teapots and two new mugs for the event. The teapots include the Heart Diamond Jubilee Teapot and Diamond Jubilee Flag Teapot. Pictured left and right: Tony Carter’s Diamond Jubilee Flag Teapot and the Heart Diamond Jubilee Teapot The pottery is known as one of England’s leading makers of handmade collectable teapots, supplying shops and stores throughout the UK with over 70% of the pottery/output exported throughout the world. Each collectable teapot is cast and painted by hand, resulting in no two teapots being exactly the same.
Most of us have heard of Holly Hobbie, but perhaps Sarah Kay and Betsey Clark are slightly less familiar. All three artists specialised in drawing greetings cards, lending their names to the characters they drew, which were later issued in doll form. The Betsey Clark character is an old-fashioned miss, quite distinctive with her pointed, elfin-type face, teardrop-shaped eyes, high forehead and wispy blonde hair caught up with a thin ribbon into a bunch on top of her head. Pictured right: Betsey Clark doll She is a poor waif, with patches on her clothes and oversize shoes. This adorable child was created by her namesake, Betsey Clark, who lived in Amarillo, Texas. Betsey showed early promise for art and design, winning awards for drawing while still a child. In the early 1960s she began work at Hallmark cards, producing greetings card designs which depicted her so-called Whimsical Waifs. These soon caught the public’s imagination. Later, various dolls featuring her characters appeared, to the delight of both children and adults. Additionally, the German company of Goebel were commissioned by Hallmark to produce a series of Betsey Clark figurines for collectors. According to a collector’s site on the internet, Betsey proclaimed that she loved to ‘work off in a little bitty corner, with the drapes pulled around me’. She died in 1987, but her enchanting characters live on. A range of Betsey Clark dolls was issued by Knickerbocker in the 1970s. Amongst them was an 8″ tall vinyl-headed, soft-bodied girl, dressed in a pretty pale blue outfit of patterned dress and striped apron. Her apron bore two patches. The pale colouring of the dolls’ features and clothing reflected the delicate hues in Betsey Clark’s illustrations, and the attractive box featured a picket fence, topped with a robin, with the Betsey doll standing behind. A verse on the box read, ‘Betsey’s the very best kind of a friend, whenever you need her, she has time to spend. You can tell her your troubles when something goes wrong, and wherever you go, she likes going along! She can make you smile brightly when you’re feeling glum, when you tell her your secrets, she’ll keep every one! She can make almost anything more fun to do, and she’s coming to stay and have fun times with you!’ Betsey was also available as a small all-vinyl doll and as a rag doll, while in 1985 a delightful 6″ porcelain collector’s doll was created. Betsey Clark dolls seem more difficult to obtain here in Britain than those of Sarah Kay and Holly Hobbie, which is a shame as they are very cute with their wistful faces and large, sad eyes. Artist Sarah Kay seems to be something of a recluse. Apparently, she shuns all publicity, preferring to talk through her delightful portrayals of little girls in old-fashioned summer dresses and mob caps. Often confused with Holly Hobbie, Sarah Kay’s creations tend to wear clothes featuring spotted fabrics, while Holly Hobbie uses patchwork and small floral prints. Pictured left: Sarah Kay doll She lives in Australia, and trained at art college before joining an advertising agency. When her daughter Allison became very ill, Sarah needed something to soothe her worries, and began to work on a series of drawings featuring carefree children in an idyllic, old-fashioned country setting, gaining her inspiration from her own childhood, spent on her grandparents farm. The drawings were noticed by the Valentine Greetings Card Company, and were produced as popular cards and stationery. Pedigree decided to manufacture dolls based on the little girls in the drawings, producing a range during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some of the most delightful had vinyl faces with round, painted eyes and softly coloured lips. A few freckles were scattered across the bridge of the nose. Pictured right: Sarah Kay Pedigree doll Sweet Thoughts These dolls had rooted hair and soft bodies, and stood 13″ tall. They had names such as Gentleness, Tenderness, Sweet Love, Sweetness, Cheerfulness, Happiness, Joy, Affection, Kindness and Sweet Thoughts, and each wore a different colour or pattern; for instance, Gentleness wore mainly green, Tenderness blue, Sweet Love red and so on. Several versions were available including rag dolls in assorted sizes, and Pedigree also marketed a nightdress case, shaped like a Sarah Kay doll, under the Burbank name. Sometimes the dolls wore bonnets or mob-caps, while others had straw hats. In their 1979 catalogue, Pedigree proclaimed, ‘The most beautiful rag dolls ever. High quality material. Detailed replicas of world famous greetings cards.’ The House of Anri, founded and maintained by the Riffeser family over several generations, is famed for its creative range of wooden figurines, which are made at St. Christina, located in the Dolomite mountains of South Tyrol, Italy. Amongst their products are ornamental models of Sarah Kay characters. These delightful pieces are hand-carved from Alpine maple and are extremely popular. Several kinds of Sarah Kay jointed wooden dolls have also been carved, including Martha, a sweet little girl, 14″ tall, made in a limited edition of 750. She has the trademark freckles across her nose, and is dressed in a typical Sarah Kay outfit of cotton frock and bonnet. As you might expect, these painted, wooden creations are expensive, but they are extremely beautiful and collectable. Most famous of the three designers is Holly Hobbie. During the 1960s, people became intrigued by her designs featuring a little girl, facing sideways, dressed in a long patc hwork frock, with a large bonnet totally obscuring her face. This pose tended to create an urge to see the expression which lurked beneath the brim. Grannies, especially, adored this nostalgia theme, imagining it was their granddaughter lurking under that floppy bonnet, and the whole concept happily coincided with the fashionable look of the day – long, floaty dresses, small prints, Laura Ashley, country style, femininity and pastel shades. Pictured left: 1975 Knickerbcoker Holly Hobbie doll Holly Hobbie created her designs for the American Greetings Card Company for many years, featuring children in […]