Sunday, September 24, 2017

October 2017: Interview with Collector Jenny Tellian

It is with great pleasure that I introduce our friend Jenny Tellian,  a refined and well educated lady with the most amazing collection of dolls I've ever seen!  She is talented, a great pet parent, a wonderful artist, gardener, linguist, and yes, doll collector!  Jenny was very generous with her wonderful collection; there will be a gallery devoted to her dolls very soon.

Inside one of Jenny's many well-lit doll houses

Some of Jenny's miniature bisque babies and all bisque dolls

1. When did you start collecting?

I don't remember ever not being obsessed by dolls as a child!We were a humble family and a rich lady adopted me as her niece! She would come often to visit me bringing me the most wonderful dolls with layettes, furniture , clothes etc! I would begin my day early dragging all the cribs,carriages, dolls, tables, bears, tea sets etc. to the back lawn where I remained all day ,the active and every busy " mother"!

When I came from France I had to leave all my dolls and possessions in general there!I have always bought antiques with a few dolls here and there as an adult!However, when the love of my life died at 47, I found myself in a deep depression !We were together for 11 years and very private people having few friends!He was a German M.D, but also a brilliant scholar enjoying a quiet life of reading and traveling! I was so in despair and barely able to function away from my teaching job!It was at this time that I noticed a doll show advertised , and it changed my life! I made several new, wonderful friends with whom I went to doll shows, bear shows etc. every weekend! We would stop at a nice restaurant on the way home,  and have show and tell time as we ate with our dolly acquisitions!Sadly ,all these friends are now deceased!

Composition and Bisque Babies, Courtesy Jenny Tellian

2. Have your tastes changed over the years?

My tastes in dolls change, but I still cherish the ones I had! I started as an adult collecting composition dolls, moved on to antique French and German bisque ,artist made rag dolls , antique doll houses and miniatures!In the last six months I have amassed a collection of Grodnertals , and currently, I am crazy about reborn black dolls! I have many reborn white ones! I have recently gotten some old black paper mâché topsy turvies,  as well as some with bellows in their stomach which stick out their tongue when their stomach is pressed! They are so realistic!I suppose I love all dolls since to me they are three dimensional works of art! It is a pity today that most people I encounter, ( some oldies also), think dolls are creepy!These same people watch " The Living Dead" and " Zombies" on television!

One seldom sees a little girl with a doll, a doll buggy or even wearing a dress!We are indeed fortunate to have lived in a different era!

One of Jenny's Life-sized manikins, tastefully arranged

3. What are your favorite types of dolls?

A certain doll - I prefer dolls that are all original or mostly original. Age brings with it a lovely patina! I think the expression of the doll,  as well as the way in which it is dressed , are the main attractions!Oftentimes, replacement wigs and shoes render the doll awkward looking in my opinion!

Tiny Dolls in a Doll House.  Courtesy, Jenny Tellian

4. What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

While I currently adore reborns I would say my greatest loves are still the old antique ones ! I have a very beautiful Greiner from early 1880's with flirty,glass eyes, original clothing including marvelous red leather boots! ( about 42 inches) I think she might be my favorite doll,  although not my most expensive! I am eclectic and do not eliminate any doll genres.The doll must in some way speak to me! I amassed such a large collection because I wanted to leave it to my quaint city for a children's museum! I have collections of old toys, paper goods, Grammaphones, Edison talking machines, a player piano , etc.