This should have gone up at the beginning of the month, but…I don’t even know what happened to this month. I mean, I know I (sort of) lost about a week of it to a back injury, but that’s only a week. It’s just been crazy around here, I guess is what I’m trying to say.
Anyway! I wanted to share the Christmas decorations at the museum where I work (not posting the name of the museum, because the board can apparently get touchy about that), because there are a lot of beautiful dolls out this year.
The photos are in two stages (as it were), because the decorations went up more slowly than usual. And unfortunately they were all taken with my phone, because it would have felt weird bringing my camera to work. So the quality of the pictures varies between “awful” and “meh”. Sorry about that, too.
Our tour of the decorations starts in the study, for no particular reason…
This is how the Christmas tree in the study looked in the first week it was up. There was a focus in the decorations on all the new dolls that were donated in the past year.
And I took this picture at the wrong time of the day, with the sun right outside the windows. *sigh* The big doll in the pink is an Effanbee Lovums, who was found in collection this year. (That’s a standard museum term, believe it or not. So apparently we’re not the only museum where things sometimes just turn up and have been with us for years without ever being officially added to the system. In fact, it sounds like it’s a pretty common thing.) Down in front we have two of this year’s arrivals — the Lenci who isn’t actually as dirty and messy as she looks in this picture, and the casually dressed bisque and compo baby (I forget which manufacturer he comes from, but most of that donation’s dolls were either Armand Marseille or Kammer & Reinhardt), and one that came in a couple years ago, the yellow-clad baby in the center, who’ s a wooden doll by Schoenhut.
Another Lenci (the one in blue at the back) in better condition, and then one of my old favorites is also at the back there, the cloth Madame Alexander Alice in Wonderland in red. (I really hate my reluctance to spend large sums of money: a cloth Madame Alexander Alice in Wonderland in blue came up on Ruby Lane earlier this year, and I dithered long enough about her price tag (which was a lot, but not outside my price range, and cheap for what she was) that someone else bought her. I shoulda bought her the second I saw the listing. When am I ever gonna have another chance?)
The doll in the center there is part of a huge donation we got this summer. She’s my favorite of them, in fact. 🙂 I’ve forgotten now which doll maker she’s from, except that she’s German and from the early portion of the 20th century, with a bisque head and ball-jointed composition body. The donation included a lot of standard makers like Kestner and Armand Marseille, but also some I hadn’t really known before. (The angel doll behind her does not deserve to be anywhere near her, being a 1980s/1990s “collector” doll in vinyl, but since she was an angel I thought she was appropriate to the seasonal theme.)
Okay, so this last photo is from the second batch of photos I took, after the final wave of decorations had been put up in the rest of the house, but apparently the study was finished in the first wave, because I’m seeing now that this is totally the same as it was in the first picture. Bit of a better picture, though. 😉
So, moving on, I only have one picture from the bedroom, because there aren’t many dolls in there.
Looks like a Lenci-type and a Klumpe-type, the former in roughly German garb, and the latter in…I’m not sure what regional costume that is. Eastern Europe somewhere, I think?
Anyhoo, next we leave the Christmas display for a moment to show off the really, um, disjointed doll display in the hallway.
It’s a World’s Fair thing, but in most cases the dolls are intended merely to represent countries that were represented at the 1904 World’s Fair, rather than the dolls actually having anything to do with the World’s Fair…
…hence you get “Daughter of the Nile” Gene standing side by side with a Jules Steiner Bebe. The later being one that came in this year, a late 19th century automaton doll. Her clothes are not as old as she is, I’m pretty sure, especially since her dress hides her key, making the idea of winding her up rather challenging. (Not that we would dare try to wind her up! If anything’s not functional about her, winding up her mechanism would just damage it further.)
I was glad of an excuse to put one of these dolls out. The Door of Hope Mission dolls from early 20th century China have such wonderful carved wooden faces! I really love them, but we don’t usually have much call to display them. (We have at least one other in the collection. I think.)
This is a “Columbian” doll, which is associated with the Columbian Exposition, the Chicago World’s Fair in…I’m suddenly blanking on the year, something like 1893, I think?
Okay, moving on. The back parlor is next, because.
Wide view of the piano in the first wave of decorations…
…and detail shots. That bisque-headed doll is one of the new ones, of course. But I really want to point out the two little felt dolls. They’re souvenir dolls from I’m wanting to say Austria, from like the 1930s. But their colorful aesthetic completely makes me think of the 1970s. Specifically, they so make me think of The Letter People. (Dunno how widely syndicated that show was, but you can find clips (or maybe whole episodes?) on Youtube if you wanna check out what I’m talking about. It was a puppet show in the late ’70s with anthropomorphic letters. Unlike Sesame Street, its look was very steeped in the ’70s psychedelic experience.) I totally want to find some dolls like those two for my collection, but it’s hard to even know what to type into a search engine to find any, especially since I want some with this kind of extreme color scheme. I’ve found a few other round-headed felt dolls on Etsy that seem to be from the same era and area, but they fail the psychedelic test. 😦
So, the little girl in the pink is a Vogue Toddles or Toodles (or possibly “Toddler”, based on the text on the box of one of the others in the collection) in the “Chinese Girl” costume. I was lucky enough to find one of these on Ruby Lane myself, and although mine doesn’t have the Vogue sticker on her costume like this one, mine also doesn’t have a big crack under her nose. 😉 I’ll post photos eventually. (I want to show off the entire shelving unit she’s on (shelving unit and all), once I can clear up some of the mess that’s accumulated on the floor in front of it.)
The mantle was pretty dull the first time around.
So these two. The larger one is, as far as I know, genuine 19th century. The smaller one (despite what I said on World Doll Day) is actually from the 1940s, and is the work of a renowned doll artist whose name I’ve forgotten. *cough*
And that covers the first wave in the back parlor, so let’s move on to the final wave of decorations in the back parlor.
Not sure why there’s an old Clue board up there, but it does give it some extra punch. 🙂
Second wave of the mantle is…um…actually, it still kind of looks dull from here. It looks more festive in person.
And more on the piano…
…making for the end of the back parlor photos. On to the first wave front parlor!
About the only thing to be said about the group shot is that no, that white Santa is not part of the collection. He’s just decoration.
When she was donated, I accessioned this Madame Alexander Tiny Betty as a Poor Cinderella, but I saw someone posting one of these online recently as something else. Days of the week, maybe? I think (hope) I bookmarked it on my computer at work.,,
I just liked this little wind-up and wanted to share. 🙂
So, two more of the new dolls from that magnificent donation. The one in green is a Karl Hartmann. I’ve forgotten who made the one in lavender. (If I’d been prompt about this post, I might still have remembered…) The adorable little Inuit in the front was probably made by Knickerbocker Plastics, and then dressed as a souvenir doll in northern Canada or Alaska; the clothes can’t be removed, so I couldn’t check for maker’s marks.
Not really a lot to say about the front parlor mantle…
Front parlor tree, first wave, mostly just dolls from that one donation and fake presents.
Ooh, you can totally see her ID tag. I should probably have put it around her foot instead of her wrist…
These backlit photos are really terrible; you can’t see how wonderful these dolls really are.
Once again, a terrible photo. I’m so sorry. I’m still not very good at taking pictures with a smart phone.
And we’re in the second wave now. Much more populated and festive. 🙂
Most of the bears on the mantle are modern and nothing special, but right down in front — directly in front of that dark brown bear — is a tiny little Steiff which is pretty old, but still has his button in his ear. 🙂 It’s one of the only two Steiff toys that went out for Christmas this year, because we’re going to have a whole Steiff exhibit in 2020, and I didn’t want to over-saturate. 😉
And the updated version of the feather tree in the front parlor, with plenty more toys out. Though this terrible angle makes it look like the dolls were put away or something. Though if you go into the photo album and look at it full size, you can see they’re still there, just blocked by the tree,
And there’s the other Steiff that went out. 😉 This is in the library…although I think eventually something else went out on top of the Fisher-Price piano. (The shoulderhead in blue is modern, but part of the collection.)
The doll in white is one of the new ones (is she the one with the metal hands?), and the wooden one is a Swiss doll who’s been in the collection since the ’60s.
And that concludes my rather muddled set of photos of our Christmas decor at work.
I’m sorry I made such a hash of this; we just started inventorying the entire collection, so every day I go to work I end up with dozens of random items whirling through my brain and taking away space that would normally be dedicated to things I’m actually passionate about. It’s been weirdly disruptive to my daily non-work life.
I’m also sorry I haven’t been posting very regularly. I’m just a mess right now, and can’t seem to do anything on time or even at all in some cases. I’ll try to get my act together next year, but I won’t make any promises, because I don’t want to risk making them and then breaking them.