Sunday, October 12, 2014

Interview with ADC Writer and Noted Collector Lynn Murray

Huret with Accessories, Courtesy Lynn Murray
When did you start collecting?

My collecting began at age 6. My Mother and Grandmother both loved dolls and while they combed the thrift shops for Chinas and Parians, I fell in love with bisque. When I found my Mom’s childhood dolls in the attic, I was well and truly hooked. Throughout school my interest in dolls never diminished. My fascination with social history, fashion, textiles and porcelain came largely from the connection with dolls and early childhood life. 

For a few brief years in senior highschool and college, my dolls were packed away, but when my husband and I got our first house there was a place for the dolls and out they came. Surprisingly, he never questioned that drive to collect or why I focused on dolls. He was very supportive and came to enjoy our travels in France and Germany on a quest for dolls. When I joined UFDC in 1979, Dean encouraged me to travel to the US to attend conferences and conventions, realizing that the best dolls in the world were now to be found in the US. The only advice he ever offered was, “Buy the best of what you can afford, so you will be able sell them when you feel the time is right.”

Premiere Jumeau, Courtesy Lynn Murray

Have your tastes changed over the years?

Most certainly my interests in various kinds of dolls have changed many times over the course of nearly 50 years! As a young collector I preferred bisque children, collecting character children from Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and SFBJ. I have always had a passion for English wax dolls and Grodnerthal wooden dolls. For many years French bébés drew me with their huge eyes and perfect complexions. I have an affection for Kathe Kruse dolls, similar to what one might feel for a teddy bear. The artistry of Lenci and Norah Wellings draws me, as does the primitive early appearance and feel of Izannah Walker, Columbian and Philadelphia Babies. All these have passed through my collection at some time and most have gone on to other homes as my tastes changed.
14 inch Fashion, Courtesy Lynn Murray

What are your favorite types of dolls?

The dolls that have fascinated and pleased me continuously all my life are fashion dolls. Whether they are milliners models of the 1830s, Hurets and Rohmers of the 1860s, composition dolls of the 1930s, hard plastics of the 1950-60s or the modern and avant guard fashion dolls of current times, I am enchanted by fashion dolls.

5 inch Barefoot All-Bisque, Courtesy Lynn Murray
What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

Probably the most important attribute is originality. I am drawn to almost any doll that is in original condition. The next things I would consider important are quality and condition. Rarity is a term over-used and it is, after all, very subjective. For example, what seems rare to a collector living in Canada, may be less so to a collector attending weekly doll shows in California. However, when one has studied specific categories of dolls for many years, rarity becomes more objective. In my decades long quest after French fashion dolls, it might be fair to say that I could recognize rarity. Having said that, the appearance of an extremely rare face or a rare body style would probably make me overlook the lack of original clothes. 


Do you sew for your dolls?

Bru, Courtesy Lynn Murray

Though I spent many happy years sewing for my dolls and even buying dolls specifically to sew for, I no longer sew.

Very Early Doll, Courtesy, Lynn Murray

Are you looking for anything in particular, etc. 

Though I have never been a methodical or organized kind of collector, my attention is always drawn to fashion dolls. Fashion dolls of every era seem to be the dolls that stay with me for a longer time than any other. I particularly love the dolls of the 1850-60s. If I were to find a Clement fashion with the correct face, I would be very happy indeed!

 Be sure to look into TLC Doll Tours, led by Lynn.  What a Treat!



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