This is my new doll. I took some photos with my phone so I could show her to you. I’ll take better photos and share more details about her soon.
My blog is read by “doll people” and some friends and family who just read it anyway. The non-doll people often ask me why I choose a particular doll, especially when it’s an expensive one. I’d like to explain why this doll excites me.
1. She is a French doll. She is beautiful.
2. She is a whopping 29” (74 cm) tall. That is a rare size for this type of doll, most dolls like this are under 20” tall. The seller suggested that she was created to be displayed at an exhibition. I think that’s possible or maybe she was used in a store or shop window display. But from the wear on her body, it looks like she was played with at some point.
3. She doesn’t have any clothes. She needs clothes. Think blank canvas.
I’ve come to the conclusion that sewing tiny is overrated. Hopefully sewing on this scale will be less challenging and more fun.
4. She is 150 years old. She dates from the late 1860’s or early 1870’s. I love the fashions of that era and am looking forward to designing and creating a wardrobe for her. She can be dressed as a child or a young adult.
It is always a weird feeling to open the shipping box to reveal a “new” doll and see the evidence of age. We are so programmed to expect perfect, shiny and new that signs of age and wear are a bit jarring at first. But upon further inspection, I appreciate how well she has weathered 150 years and love imagining who has cared for her for so long.
5. Her porcelain bisque head is perfect. Her painting is crisp and artistically done. There are many scuffs in the paint on her shapely body. Her toes are a bit worn down and I can’t seem to figure out why. I don’t imagine that she was dragged around by a child, considering her size.
6. Her body is wood and very posable. That was a big selling feature for me. The bodies of many dolls of this period are fragile and difficult to dress. This doll can be dressed and redressed over and over without harm.
And yes I named her. I’ve never done that before with a doll. But I have my reasons.
Lily: She reminds me of the Lily dolls sold by Madame Lavallee-Peronne and promoted in her magazine for girls, La Poupee Modele, starting in 1863. The magazine featured many costume patterns for the doll. Lily dolls are iconic and an entire industry grew around them in Paris at the time. Think Barbie, only 100 years earlier.
Lily dolls came with different but similar heads, blue eyes, blonde curls and an articulated wooden body. But Lily was only around 17 1/2” (45 cm) tall.
So when I saw her my first thought was “Lily”, only bigger.
Auguste: Merriam-Webster defines August as “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur.” She’s got that in spades. Auguste is French for August.
I’d thought about calling her giant Lily or Lily Grande (like Ariana). But Auguste seems classier.
Definitely a mojo doll.