, a beautiful fashion plate from 1831. The caption reads:
"The woman on the left wears a green archery dress with full skirts, a large, pointed, white lace collar and long sleeves with double puffs at the shoulders. The woman wears a green belt with a gold buckle and gold trim. A gold and green tassel hangs from one side of the belt, while an ornate gold and green hip quiver holding several white, feather-tipped arrows hangs from the other. The woman's hat has a white, upturned brim edged with green. It is adorned with several large, white plumes at the crown and a golden ornament at the brim. The woman wears long, dangling earrings, green boots, pale gloves, and a brown bracer, or arm-guard, on her left forearm. She holds a bow and arrow ready to shoot.
The woman on the right wears a blue and white archery dress with a high, lacy collar and a short, sheer apron. The bodice and sleeves are extremely ornate and reminiscent of a doublet. The bodice is decorated with rows of white braid in a military fashion and white ruffles extend from the shoulders. The sleeves are blue and fitted below the elbow, but puffed at the shoulder, where they are blue and white striped and trimmed in lace ruffles. The skirt is a very pale blue, and the woman wears a blue belt with a large buckle at her waist. A tassel and small, arrow-filled hip quiver hang from this woman's belt. She wears blue boots, white gloves, and large, dangling earrings. Her white hat has an upturned brim trimmed with a white brooch or ornament. Several large, white plumes adorn the crown. She wears a bracer on her left forearm and carries a bow and arrow, though hers are lowered as she watches her companion take her shot. A large green back quiver, trimmed in gold and with a green and white ribbon carrying strap, lies in the foreground. The two women are outside. They stand on grass with trees and an archery target behind them."
Click the image to see more detail on the fashion plate and on the link above to see more plates and descriptions!
Another gem from Morphy's Auctions. This is "The School of Fashion" circa 1830s-1840s (that's what the website says ~ it looks 30s to me). The description reads: "The Lovely French 'L'Ecole Des Modes' boxed set contains a reinforced front/back 5.7-inch [doll?]. She has six flawless gowns, seven headdresses/hats, and a wooden stand. The accompanying box is embossed with gold trim and a beautiful centerpiece featuring elaborately gowned ladies of the period.
The estimated selling price for this lovely set? $1,200-$1,500!
This was the largest image I could get of the set, so click on it if you want to see it a little closer, but it's too bad we can't see more of the details on the dresses, etc.
I'm a little disappointed with myself. I didn't have the courage to paint this doll after I'd inked it. But I have to send it by the 15th and so I had to finish it, and, well, here it is, finished. I colored it on the computer with Adobe PhotoShop and boy-o does it look slick, but it's really not what I was aiming for when I started it (as usual, click on the image for a slightly larger version so you can see some details).
I really had just meant to work on the lettering and whatnot (which I had intended all along to do on the computer, but once I started, I couldn't resist ~ and I knew it would just be simpler than fighting with traditional media and my horror of colors. And if I made a mistake I could just redo it with the click of my Wacom pen. It's very hard to resist that kind of flexibility.
I don't hate the final results. I think it came out just fine. I only wish I'd had the courage to do it as I wanted to instead of resorting to what's easy. The sad thing is, I'm sure it's all the more impressive for me having done it with the computer than I could have ever made it look in paint ~ at least posted online like this. Holding the real thing in my hands, paint is infinitely more wonderful. And now I worry that I have consigned Henry Fleming to a permanent state of black and white mere outline on the page because the chances of me going back to this project now that it's done are pretty much nil. Sorry about that Henry.
Here's hoping I'll get work done on other dolls soon.
Today's doll is another from Morphy's Auction. This one is called "American Lady With Something To Wear" and is dated 1857. The description reads: "Hand colored from wood engravings, this set has five lovely, detailed gowns, one shawl and four headdresses. Only the front of the envelope remains. The set is in wonderful condition with the average age and wear." It is estimated to fetch $300-$400!
There wasn't an image with better resolution, unfortunately. But It's a very nice-looking doll overall, and the outfits are nicely colored. I especially like the one presented on the doll itself below with the red ribbons.
Despite a failing pen (that has been a favorite of mine for a very long time), I managed to at least transfer and ink Henry Fleming. There are details missing on the flag, etc. at the moment, but I'm doing all that with paint. For now, click on the image to see some better details. Don't mind the writing over it. I just wanted to make sure it's clear that this is a draft.
I didn't change very much from the original concept. The pose is more or less as I originally designed it. I shortened Henry's hair a little (it was too long for a Yankee), and decided against the gaiters (oh sigh). But it's not like I don't have a dozen other Civil War uniforms sketched out and lying around waiting to be made for other dolls. The hardest thing to draw was Henry's enfield rifle (getting the perspective right was not a picnic). But it came out pretty okay ~ I'm pleased.
As RLC noted in the last post I made with the original sketch, I'm doing this for the OPDAG newsletter. The due date is the 15th, but I've got a whole 'nuther weekend to paint and finish it, so I'm sure I'll have it in well before the deadline.
This month, Morphy Auctions is auctioning off a ton of vintage/antique paper dolls (thank God I have no money to bid!). I had never considered buying actual 19th century dolls until I saw some of these.
Throughout the month of May, I'll share some of the lots with you as fun examples. I have polished a few of these from the catalog so that you can print them if you like (the resolution isn't that good, but they might still be fun!). Many of the dolls are not identified very in depth. I'll provide whatever information the catalog contains and some comments of my own.
First up is Grace Lee (Lot 486). The site says: "'Grace Lee' has five outfits [only four are shown] and a hat with an envelope from the period indicating the set may have been a gift. " The actual doll is 5 inches, comes with a second doll with more clothing (not shown), and the two are expected to fetch anywhere between $200 and $250 dollars. This is one of many sets of dolls printed by McLoughlin.
From the style of the clothing, Grace Lee looks like she was produced in the late 1850s or early 1860s. I love the ermine-tail trim on the lavender coat and the Flemish-styled overskirt on the fourth dress. It looks like this is a very nice set and well-cared for.
Click on the doll and the clothes below for a larger image from which to print.
Finally, I am working on Henry Fleming this weekend, so I hope to update my progress by Sunday so you can see how he's coming along.