Another date to mark on your calendars!!! As many of you may know, I am co-chairman for the Jenny Lind Doll Club doll show. This year is the 30th year for the show, so we wanted to do something special at this year’s show. Being fellow Izannahphiles I know you won’t be surprised by what I came up with. 🙂
The Jenny Lind Doll Club is very pleased to announce that we will have a special educational exhibit of Izannah Walker dolls at our October 29th, 2017 show. This is an almost unprecedented gathering of so many of these rare dolls at a public event. There will be at least eleven Izannah Walker dolls on display that belong to current Jenny Lind members, along with photos and memorabilia of Izannah Walker dolls owned by past members, including legendary Izannah Walker collector Maureen Popp. At this time discussions are underway with friends of the Jenny Lind doll club about the possibility of additional dolls being loaned for the exhibit, so the total number of dolls on display may be slightly higher. There is no separate admission fee to view the educational exhibit. Entrance is included in the doll show admission of $7.00.
All exhibited Izannah Walker dolls are part of private collections, they are NOT being offered for sale. This is strictly an exhibit in celebration of both our Doll Show’s 30th anniversary and Izannah Walker’s 200th birthday.
*If you will be attending the show and own an Izannah Walker doll that you would like to add to the exhibit, please contact us at email@example.com to make arrangements. ❤
You may enlarge the photos and see the entire image by clicking on individual photographs in the montage.
At 7:00 p.m. I have a few new dolls who would like to make your acquaintance. I hope you will be able to come back to meet them and then return one final time today at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time for our bedtime post. 🙂
Last week I got to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for over 20 years! We drove up to New Hampshire for Antiques Week and a visit to Strawbery Banke museum. I’m sure you aren’t surprised that I came back a few things for the dolls, including two new friends. 🙂
Lovely library steps from NH! Now I’ll be able to reach the bedroom and attic of the doll’s house in style!
Home from NH with antique library stairs ❤
A tiny tin candle holder and silk flags from NH, along with an ironstone plate, tin spoons, a cast iron iron, and a tiny old basket from our stop in Sturbridge, MA.
A girl can never have too many spoons in her kitchen! And who could do without an ironstone plate and a gathering basket for trips out to the gardens?
Silk flags to bedeck the doll’s house for Flag Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day! Plus an iron to keep all the linens well pressed and a tin candle holder to keep the dark at bay.
Two antique braided rugs found in Sturbridge will help keep the dolls feet warm when they are running around their house this winter.
Antique petticoats, pantalettes, and stockings for the dolls.
Assorted antique thread, lace, trim, ribbons and fabric from our stop in Sturbridge at one of my favorite antique shops.
BIGGEST spools of thread in the world 🙂 OK, probably not, but still huge. The smaller spool is normal size.
Just a bit of whimsy for my new studio. A piece of zinc ridge pole from one of the NH antique shows. Just imagine having the entire crest of your rook bedecked in these hearts ❤
Another view of the antique zinc ridge pole.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Close-up of the 1840’s papier-mache doll I bought in NH.
She has the most wonderfully detailed hairstyle.
A beautiful profile and iconic 1840’s styling.
I love this black stockinette doll, often referred to as a “Beecher-type” doll because people think it has a resemblance to the dolls made by Julia Beecher.
This doll is in amazing condition.
All of my dolls are over joyed that they have new family members! ❤
and now my tale continues… Today it is time for Emmaline’s story. It’s a rollicking adventure of coincidence, fate, and love!
In June, 2014 one of my doll club members told me that a friend of hers who lived in Wilton, CT was putting all of her dolls up for sale at the Withington August auction. She then showed me a photo of a doll that her friend called a “Nantucket Doll”. Imagine my surprise when the “Nantucket Doll” was actually an Izannah Walker doll! The doll was dressed in a pink and white calico morning dress and had been repainted, but was clearly an Izannah Walker doll. It just so happened that another Izannah Walker doll was up for sale in the same Withington auction. I didn’t go to the auction, but several of the members of my doll club did. When our club met in September, the one other Izannah collector in the club brought the doll she bought at Withington’s to show me. No it wasn’t the “Nantucket Doll”, it was the second doll, a tiny 16 inch Izannah Walker.
Sometime later I happened upon the “Nantucket Doll” on eBay. The winner of the Withington auction had listed her for sale. Fast forward to the Autumn of 2015. A very good customer, and dear online penpal, contacted me. She had purchased an Izannah Walker doll. Would I take a look at photos of her and see if it was possible to do some restoration work on the doll? Low and behold, there was the “Nantucket Doll” again, now stripped of much of her repaint by a restoration professional (at the behest of the eBay seller). The little Nantucket Doll had been named Emmaline by her new mom, Anita. Anita had a wish list of restoration areas that she would like for Emmaline. Were they possible? Would the restoration be a good idea? She had conscientiously had the doll evaluated by fine art appraisers before writing to me. Together we worked out a minimalist plan for Emmaline that would help her look more like the truly beautiful doll she once was, but still show her age.
So after traveling far and wide during the intervening year, Emmaline once again returned to Connecticut. This time her destination was my studio, a mere 31 miles from Wilton where she had made her home for many years!
The first thing I did after Emmaline arrived was to ohh and ahh over her, introduce her to all of my resident Izannah Walker dolls, and then thoroughly document her condition.
Emmaline before my restoration.
Pre-restoration full length front.
Pre-restoration full length back.
Emmaline upon her arrival at my studio.
Note the seam placement down the back of the leg which is indicative of a very early Izannah Walker doll.
Front of legs.
Feet with painted boots.
This hand looks as if it was repainted at some point.
Emmaline was remarkably intact for a doll of her age. Her only real issues were on her face. Her body was sound, with a bit of reinforcement stitching on the toes of her painted boots and fairly well matched over painting on one arm. Even her pale pink linen second skin was still in good shape!
Wet paint! One of about 20 transparient light layers of color.
After rebuilding the tip of her nose and most intrusive cracks with a water soluable clay (that could be removed. Restoration work should be able to be undone if possible)
Starting the painting process.
Still more painting…
Finally starting to get the paint colors evened out and closer to her original paint color.
Getting close to finishing the painting…
The biggest challenge I faced with Emmaline, was getting all of the many skin toned paint colors on her face to blend into one another. During her lifetime her face was at least partially painted several times. Much of the overpaint on her face had been removed. What was left was a combination of her original paint that had faded and at least two other colors of flesh-tone paint. Fortunately the original paint on her shoulders, chest and back was intact, with areas of slightly yellowed varnish. The original non-faded paint on Emmaline’s shoulders told me what color her face should be, which was very important. When I started painting Emmaline’s face, I was very careful not to paint over any of her original paint. I did very sheer layers of paint over my reconstructed areas and the stubborn remaining overpainting. Because her original paint was chalky looking due to sun fading and cleaning I fed it several times with a very small amount of cold pressed linseed oil. The linseed oil helped bring the old paint back to life and also made it blend better with my new in painting. As my last painting step I wore away a smidgen of my newly applied lip paint. I wanted to make sure that nothing I did stood out or looked new.
Painting finished, it’s time to be fitted for new dresses!
Close-up of restoration in-painting.
Now Emmaline’s face and shoulders are closer to the same color.
The restored Emmaline retains all of the charm she attained during the past 160 or so years, the only difference is that now she looks like her life was a bit more gentle.
Once I finished painting I moved on to dressmaking. Emmaline came with many layers of underclothing, so all I needed to do was make her extra dresses to augment her wardrobe. Sewing for Emmaline was a joy! It was a lot of fun to dress her up in her new clothes and see her in more fitted dresses.
Emmaline is modeling part of the antique underwear she accumulated during her lifetime.
Emmaline looks very pleased with her dress made from madder printed polka-dots.
Emmaline after restoration. Wearing a reproduction dress made from antique fabric.
Short gathered, banded sleeves and a low gathered neckline are very becoming.
Emmaline’s second new dress is made from a very early brown print cotton.
This dress has a fitted bodice and sleeves, with a cartridge pleated skirt.
Emmaline after restoration.
Emmaline after restoration.
Emmaline after restoration.
Emmaline after restoration.
Originl paint and wear marks on her arm. Self piping and cartridge pleating at the waist of her dress.
Emmaline after restoration.
After her new clothing was complete Emmaline was thrilled to be heading back home! Who wouldn’t be with such a loving and caring mom? Clearly Emmaline was fated to find such a perfect new home. Anita was so thoughtful when it came to deciding what was right for Emmaline. There could not be a better care taker for this early example of Izannah Walker’s work. Anita was also amazingly generous to me! She kindly allowed me to tell you about Emmaline, share photographs of her and is letting me make reproductions of her, so that other people who love Izannah Walker’s dolls can add an example of this lovely early girl to their doll families and keep Izannah’s legacy alive. ❤ Thank you Anita!!!
Good-bye Emmaline, we miss you little “Nantucket Doll”…
And they all lived happily ever after!
(*** Move your cursor over the photos to read the captions, click on photos to enlarge.)
More cloth dreams… My winter issue of Doll News arrived today and low and behold there is another article in it about the UFDC special exhibit on American cloth dolls at the 2015 convention! So while the winter winds blow and rattle all the old windows in my house, I plan to snuggle in my bed under a mound of hand pieced quilts and read more about all of these glorious cloth dolls and their makers. Sweet cloth dreams are sure to follow… Sleep tight!
Yesterday my friend Joy and I decided that we could squeeze in an impromptu trip to Pamela Dalton’s Christmas Open House. So we piled into the car and ventured north to the village of Harlemville. The drive flew by as we talked and admired all of the small towns we passed through!
We had a wonderful time looking at all of the amazing fine crafts that Pamela and her group of friends created. Then surprise!!! Who was there? My friend Peggy!!!
Peggy is a talented, creative doll maker, who lives in a charming old house by the sea. She has an enchanting blog that I love to read.
The afternoon came to a close with strolling carolers. It was a story book ending to a lovely Open House! Afterwards, Peggy and her dear friend Sandy invited us back to Sandy’s house for supper. It was so nice to finally meet Sandy in person! Peggy has told me so much about her and Pam had told me last month that she had a friend (Sandy) who loved dolls and that she was sure would like to meet me. Sandy is every bit as nice, creative, and charming as they both told me she is. 🙂 She is also another old house owner and the creative force behind Sandy Connors’ Honey Bee Press – old fashioned wood engraving and printing.
Sandy was the perfect hostess, welcoming us into her home, introducing us to her sweet pets, feeding us and showing us through her lovely c. 1830’s home.
Naturally I was quite delighted to make the acquaintance of the doll family that lives in Sandy’s home.
What an unexpected delight and a welcome interlude in the midst of a busy holiday season!!!
Today I had the fun of reliving yesterdays adventure, when I unpacked the treasures that I purchased at the Open House.
Zanna, Isabeau, Isane, Ismay and Hannah have been diligently piecing quilt tops, as birthday presents to send along with the young Hannahs and Lilys. Little Izzybelle has been their devoted helper.
One quilt top and coordinating backing will be included with any of the two new Hannahs and two new Lilys that are purchased this weekend ❤ The dolls and I want them to be warm and cozy in their new homes! One Hannah and one Lily have been spoken for, you may see the others here. Hannah #2 & Lily #2