I promised myself I would post at least one piece of clothing this week, so as to keep motivated as far as painting is concerned. I started working on a very simple vest for James, then got distracted into making this West Point Military Academy jacket. James entered the Academy in 1844 and graduated second to the last in his class in 1847 for sheer want of discipline (just missing the honor of being the "goat").
The style of the cadet uniform has changed very little over the years. I thought this would be extremely easy to make: simple style, one color. Easy right? It was actually pretty tedious. All those little buttons! But I think the effect came out well. The grey color came out very nice, even if the collar got a little woggly. I will make some pantaloons to go along with this. Hopefully soon.
The only thing I might add are the buttons on the collar (you can see them here on the left from this example of the uniform from 1859).
I probably should have angled the top row of buttons and frogs more dramatically (to the shoulder line), but it was hard to tell precisely where the line should fall based on several other pictures. I'm not entirely sure what accounts for the mild variations.
Nevertheless, it was certainly fun to do this even if it took me a lot longer than I anticipated.
I'm going to continue working on the clothes for this doll throughout the weekend. I'll try to have another little piece or two done and posted in the coming week.
So I dug up and finished the dolls I started making this summer. I can't believe it took me so long to complete them, but I guess I was distracted onto other projects for a while. I'm glad I didn't abandon these two, after all, since I think they came out just fine. I'm especially glad that I just stuck with them and finished them even though I didn't really feel like painting. The next challenge, of course, will be to make their clothes. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and do them in full color (instead of just sepia tints). I am hoping this won't end up a poor choice since I am pretty sure the daunting problem of color was what caused me to stop working on the first version of this particular 1840s James doll back in January.
I've been wanting to make these two dolls for a long time. Partly because this is an era I don't do a lot of work in, and partly because I thought it would be fun since James is such a clothes horse. Emmaline's clothes, I suspect will be much simpler, though I am sure I will make her a few nice things. But I am particularly looking forward to James's wardrobe because he is the one inclined to be stylish and fashionable, and to make a bold use of colors, etc.
I have some pretty good sources for clothing from the 1840s, but I want to be careful to construct my own designs and not just copy patterns, etc., from images. That might take a little extra work, but I have such a broad set of dress elements to work from that it hopefully won't make it too difficult. I already know, more or less, what I want for these two. I just have to settle into actually doing it.
For the coming week I am going to challenge myself to make their garden party clothes (the outfits they were wearing when they first met).
Click on the image to the right to see a close up of the detail on their faces. I am more or less pleased with their expressions, etc. Although Emmaline still does look entirely too much like me. It's probably the freckles more than anything.
Robert Todd Lincoln gets the Tierney treatment in Abraham Lincoln and His Family. This has got to be one of the stranger set of paper dolls on some level: the Lincolns didn't exactly have a happy household; Lincoln was assassinated, Tad died young, and Robert and his mother parted ways rather bitterly over her erratic (insane) behavior. I'm surprised there's no inclusion of Willie among the boys (Why not? What's one more dead Lincoln?). Maybe it's just my own morbid mind that conjures these thoughts.
Otherwise, the collection is very nice (though I don't really need to think about what Abraham Lincoln looks like in his long johns). The inclusion of Mary's widows weeds brings us back to the whole "morbid" thing, but seems a necessary inclusion. With Tierney's other presidents, he often included some close friends or other "family", not so here. Just Abe, Mary, and the two boys. Probably that was a good choice. I don't know what I would have done if there had been a Stanton doll (shudder!).
I didn't get any work done on paper dolls last week (didn't like the way I mixed the paints and ended up with a flesh tone that was just gagly. So I ruined a set. Now I have to start over. I'll try to work on them this weekend and post something soon! I cleaned off my desk space so that I could work more comfortably, but of course it is already crowded with books and papers again.
Sometimes I come across something that does not exactly fit, but is in the right spirit of the theme. Here is a set of costumes for Pollyanna and Jimmy from a 1941 Whitman set that I came across here. I include it in this blog because it's specifically representing the Civil War, so I think it qualifies as a Civil War paper doll (and why not?). I don't generally look at a lot of the dolls created in the 40s and 50s because most of them are fashion or movie tie-in oriented, but occasionally a movie tie-in will fit the bill. This is also very "cute" compared to the things I generally like ~ I would probably never pursue owning something like this, but I like having it here in the digital collection.
In other news, I am working on some dolls today. We'll see how they come out.
There were a number of paper doll artists in the 19th century and a handful of them were famous (like Rafael Tuck), but it was refreshing to me to be introduced to a woman whose work was never published, who painted for the sole amusement of herself and her niece, and who left behind a wonderfully detailed extensive collection of paper doll families done in watercolor.
Anna Lindner was born in 1845. The image shown here was taken when she was about 18 years old. As a child, she contracted polio and was never able to walk. She taught herself painting and produced more than 600 pieces of work that have survived. A good deal more than half of these works were paper dolls, which she created for her niece Emilie, who apparently also suffered ill health. The work sat in an attic for 50 years before it was dug up and donated to the New Jersey Historical Society.
Among the things I really cherish about her work is how she personalized the characters (you can imagine the stories she and Emilie shared about the families and their interactions). Also, she created families spanning more than 50 years, so all of the eras are represented throughout her work from the 1850s through the turn of the century.
Pretty impressive! If that isn't enough, much of her work was double-sided, showing the fronts and backs of the clothing, and wonderfully detailed (shoes, accessories, hats, etc. ). She had a whole miniature little world of her own. On top of which I really love the vivid colors. After 100 years, these dolls look practically newly-painted!
You can see more pictures from the New Jersey Historical Society here. Also, read the American Heritage article about Anna Lindner here. The American Heritage article online unfortunately doesn't include the original pictures, but the two I have shared here come from that particular magazine. Click on the image to the left to see a little more detail.