Saturday, October 4, 2014

Overview of A Visit with Ann Meehan, Part 2



 

I haven’t met a doll collector yet who didn’t also have an interest in doll houses and miniatures.  After all, how could we house those small dolls of ours, or accessorize them, if we didn’t have doll houses and miniatures.  In fact, miniature items, dolls, and houses have existed since at least the Ancient Egyptians, though many of the miniature rooms and items found in tombs may have been religious or ritual objects, not toys.   Paintings from the 16th century on have portrayed girls and dolls with elaborate costumes and sometimes small dishes.  The 17th century Dutch baby houses, often meant for adults, were the first types of doll house we are familiar with today.  Ann Sharp's 18th century doll house, a gift from her godmother, Queen Ann [of doll fame, too!], still exists with original dolls and furnishings.

 
Meehan Doll house Featured in August Antique Doll Collector.

The October 2014 Issue of Antique Doll Collector features an article by Donna Kaonis titled “A Visit with Ann Meehan, Part 2” that covers the world of antique doll houses beautifully.  The story of collector Ann Meehan and her dedication to finding and preserving antique doll houses is also inspiring and enjoyable. For those interested, Part 1 was featured in the August 2014 Issue of Antique Doll Collector.  The August Issue discussed an American house, originally from Long Island, dated 1903, as well as a special dollhouse from Spain, which is considered a Spanish National Treasure.

 
August Cover

As with the houses written on in August, the October article, “A Visit with Ann Meehan” also discussed the exquisite furnishings of the houses covered, an impressive 6.5 foot Regency and a circa 1880 house built by the son of a sea caption for the Russell family of Duxbury, MA.  The dolls, alone, could constitute a miniature museum of antique dolls.  A wooden tuck comb doll once belonged to Peggy Shippen, Benedict Arnold’s wife. Frozen Charlottes, Parian, wax, and Milliner’s Model-type papier mache dolls also populate the house.  One highlight is the miniature painting of a colonial family that hangs on the wall, but each room of the Regency Doll House these dolls live in is fully and lavishly furnished to appropriate scale.  Lucky dolls.

 

The story of how Ann Meehan came into possession of this wonderful Regency house is also entertaining.  The story behind how she bought the house involves Sotheby’s, a seat next to Malcolm Forbes, a call to legendary collector Lucy Morgan, a shuttle flight and a final exam.  Hint:  Ms. Meehan, like many doll and doll house collectors, is a teacher.

 
Rare Dressing Table from the 1880 House

The circa 1880 house has nine beautiful rooms, including a complete music rooms.  There is a black, ebony piano in the music room that originally belonged to the Fairie Doll house, built around 1780. Vivian Greene wrote about Fairie House in her book, English Dolls’ Houses from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.

 

This well-written informative article is lavishly illustrated with photos of the Regency and 1880 houses; if you love miniatures and dolls, as well as doll houses, don’t miss it.

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