Monday, December 8, 2014

An Interview with Collector and Antique Doll Collector Magazine Writer Jan Peterson

An Interview with Collector and Antique Doll Collector Magazine Writer Jan Peterson

I started collecting about 20 years ago after a house fire.  An antiques dealer friend was helping me replace items lost in the fire, knew I taught French, and purchased an FG French fashion for me in an estate sale in Iowa, as a surprise.  I had no idea there was even such a thing as French fashion dolls.  The little doll had been packed away in an attic with a note saying she was a souvenir of “Auntie’s trip to Paris”.  It was love at first sight!  Over the years, other French fashions have found their way into our home, and lots of all-bisque children as well.   I collect dolls to fit the scale of the antique French doll furniture and the accessories made for 10” to 14” dolls.  I collect all-bisques (almost all of them are Simon & Halbig either made for the French market, or the molds I just love (the 886 and 890 little girls) and Kestner all-bisque boys.   Each all-bisque has his or her own Lilliputian doll, too! 

I discovered soon after getting my first French fashion that I love the furniture and accessories made for them almost as much as the dolls.  Most of my dolls live in the “château” that is a doll cabinet set up as a nearly floor to ceiling Victorian doll house.  Every cupboard, drawer, shelf and doll trunk in the cabinet is filled with clothes and accessories that I re-cycle every six months.  My memory is so dim that it is like finding new accessories for the first time as I pull the items out of “storage” and put what has been displayed for a half year back into the doll furniture.  

What attracts me most to a doll is the face.  I love the faces and fat tummies of all-bisque children, and the faces of lady dolls.  I have a couple of Simon & Halbig lady dolls who are too big for the “château”, so one is on a permanent buggy ride in a toy Victorian carriage, and the other sits primly on a toy sofa.  I honestly think that even though they are the most commonly found, nothing beats the face of a well-done F.G. poupée.  They are the dolls who just instantly steal my heart.  I also try to always buy them with porcelain lower arms and hands because I have so many little accessories for the dolls to hold.  I adore the bébés and the German child dolls in my friends’ collections, but I share my home with a very tolerant (and masculine) husband, so I don’t want to make him uncomfortable living with too many “girl” toys.   As it is, my youngest son claims all the dolls in the “château” hum off-key at the stroke of midnight when he comes home for a visit!  

I love sewing for my dolls.  I use only antique fabrics, trims, closures, and even antique silk thread.  I have over a hundred original pages roses patterns from mid-19th Century issues of the La Poupée Modèle magazine for both French fashion dolls and mignonnettes.  I love the romance of working with patterns and materials as old as my dolls (except when I have to UNPICK my mistakes!).  My ultimate dream doll is a rare Black fashion I saw in a presentation made by Jim Fernando.  Her sculpting is just breathtaking.  She is the only doll like her I have ever seen.  If I could add her to the residents of the “château”, it would be the ultimate dolly dream come true.  I have spent many happy moments enjoying her in my dreams, though, and dreaming is a huge part of the joy of collecting!  The doll cabinet gets decorated with antique items for holidays, and it will be time in a few days to put up all the Christmas items.  It actually takes me longer to decorate for my dolls’ holidays than it does to decorate my own house!  My husband says it is all just an excuse to “play dolls”.  He is right.

 Karine & Rosie are both 9 1/2” tall S&H 886 girls who are getting ready for their Saturday night bath.

Karine & Rosie


The “Château” where most of my dolls live.

The Chateau




No comments:

Post a Comment