Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An interview with collector and dealer Alicia Carver

A grouping of early China dolls that remind me of regency gentle women.

When did you start collecting?
I began collecting general antiques in my twenties when I was a student in Boston, MA.  On the weekends, I preferred rummaging thrift stores and antique stores for buried treasures, my favorite being 19th century decorative arts.  It wasn’t until my 40’s that I discovered antique dolls. I knew when I held my first one that I had come home.  

A family of early peg wooden China dolls whose clothing I restored

Have your tastes changed over the years?
My tastes have come full circle.  When I began collecting I was especially fond of early dolls of papier mache and glazed porcelain. Later, I found myself drawn to early bisque child dolls made by Simon Halbig, bisque characters, and, as of late, early Steiff.  I ventured into French fashions and other bisque dolls for a while, but eventually sold them and returned to collecting dolls from the 1840’s - 1860’s. 

Placid 29” Schalggenwald China doll.

What are your favorite types of dolls?
Dolls with a serene countenance draw me in and dolls in original clothing are a rare treasure indeed.

Do you sew for your dolls?
I am an impatient seamstress and prefer to embellish and repair original clothing than to create from scratch. However, that is not a luxury I can frequently indulge and do find myself sewing more often than not out of pure necessity.

An early bisque child doll by ABG dressed in 1860’s fashion.  I call her my German “Huret.”

Are you looking for anything in particular, etc. 
I never know what I am looking for next but I always know it when I find it. In between the finds, I study and delve into doll scholarship so that I may get “lucky” at that next country auction or doll show. I really believe in the words of Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

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