Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities. ~Edyth O’Neill
Friday, August 28, 2009
Some of the sweetest things in my doll collection are the wonderful furniture pieces my husband has made over the years. To go with them I have made a number of doll size rugs. Having lost the first ones, I am making some more, and find these small pieces easier on my hands than heavier rugs in real size. Above see the small whale and the little house rug both made some time back, and the little Hadley Welcom rug just now begun. It is about 9 inches tall to give you an idea of scale. I am having fun with this! By the way for those of you who know Penny, she is in Maine on an island sailing with friends and doing all kinds of fun things this week! e
Many times dolls were made in the same mold for either a china finish or a bisque, often parian untinted bisque. Sometimes too, we see the same mold used for china and mache. Such is the case for this one. Several examples of huge china heads in this mold are in Art of Dolls by Merrill.
Pictured in a chair is a huge doll, with an 11 inch tall shoulder head. This mold always has a sleepy eye on the doll's left eye. Abby is shown here in a great comb back rocker in the red cape. This mache head in this size was in Gerkin's book on maches. It is owned in a blond version by the Shelburne museum. It has been found and documented in one of the doll books as having a Superior label from Muller and Strausberger. This doll I called "Abby" has gone to live with Rachael K. The little dashes under the eyes, so typical of M and S superiors further confirm her origin. I now own lovely little "Hannah" a 9 1/2 to 10 inch tall mache shoulder head which I plan to sew a new body for. Her good old cloth hands are still intact and will stay with her. Can you see the same sleepy left eye? It is also on the painted eye china head doll beside Hannah in one picture. A doll of this mold is in the Richard Wright auction coming up soon. Now here is the puzzle: The mache heads are documented and beyond a doubt by Muller and Strauseburger. But the china heads are attributed to Kloster Vielsdorf, as stated and pictured on page 125 of Mary Krombholz's new book on chinas. I wish I could ask her and learn more about this mold! In either China or mache they are unusual finds. Edyth
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I started to put a shoe on the dolly I made the body for yesterday, and inside was folded a brown and torn scrap of paper. The paper itself was a bank deposit slip, from German American Bank, St Paul MN, dated 188blank for 1880 something. The lines for you to record your deposit included gold, silver, currency and checks. The slip was not used for that purpose, but contained an ink message in fine old script, "shoes that I wore when a baby" Mary Mc. I have carefully placed the pieces in a part of an archival photo album page to keep in my doll family scrap book. The doll may get the name of Mary.
Here she sits on my bed. I am making a big effort to get my dolls dressed. One of the first things I see each morning is this trio of big dolls atop a black highboy in my bedroom. I have many large dolls that want small girl's cotton dresses, prints preferred, These are big 35 and 36 inch dolls I need dresses for. If any one has any early cotton ones to sell, I would love to hear about it. Also I have a small perfect pink toned covered wagon china head, very very nice, that I would trade for a very special dress. Photos and measurements exchanged. This is a head not a doll.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A very large steiff cow came our way. Jack named her Moolah, because she seemed a bit pricey with all the mending she has, including teddy bear like ears which I may find better fabric for later. She now is somewhat cleaner, and has her eyes resewn and her new felt horns, not as white as the photo looks. We are watching for a turkey bell, which is shaped like a cow bell only smaller. I will also watch for an old blue silk ribbon to go around Moolah's neck. I know a serious plush collector would not consider her a treasure, but I am delighted with her. Two of my dolls have already claimed her. Moolah is about 16 inches tall and 24 inches long, a big toy!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Helen it is wonderful to see you posting again, oh how I have missed you my friend, but would not for the world have you use your hand in pain.
We are fine, as are all our chicks, I am sore all over from scrubbing out the cabinets and digging in the new yard, (more of the yard work at Courtney in the morning early) Thank you for pleasant words on the house, it can be viewed at
Yes I can see where to put our jugs up high and hang baskets and paint Rufus Porter scenes on the wall. What I cannot see is how to ever fit our still growing collection into the 1670 sq feet. No way. We will hold on here as long as we can reasonably do so, which might be for the duration. I document my antique dolls in notebooks for the good of whomever may have to sell them someday, or just want to know more about them, and I passed doll number 101 last week.
A new book, a pictorial reference for German china dolls by Krombholz came today and I must say it is one of my top favorites already! The dolls are certainly not all repetitious for those of us who have Mary's other books, (I have 3 others) and the presentation is awesome.
Fun to see my new parian in the book. I am one who will buy a doll for beauty and appeal and rarity, and too bad if she is damaged, so long as I know it and the price reflects condition. When I began collecting, condition was certainly important, particularly the degree of originality, but I did not become aware of the real stigma on damaged dolls until the 90's. However I will say that any break on the face is unacceptable to me, and a speck off the end of a nose is terrible indeed, and still... there is an adorable brown eyed Sophia Smith china in my sewing basket who simply delights me, and she has a tiny roughness on the tip of her nose! She is the little flat shoulder type from an early wooden body and dear! So I often make a plea for flexibility on condition, again if known and priced for it.
When are you coming to Fredericksburg!!??? Love, Edyth
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