Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lady Jane Grey: A Royal Tragedy

Some collectors become particularly passionate about a specific historical personality. Such is the case with collector Sonja Marie and Lady Jane Grey. Sonja's interest in this tragic figure from English history (see her execution painted by Paul Delaroche at left) began as a young girl:

" I collect everything on Jane that I can get my hands on, and barring that at least an image of something I don't own. I became interested in Jane when I was 13 (almost 21 years ago). I was already interested in the Tudors and British History and I came across a children's book about her in my Junior High library and her story just touched my heart. At the time there really wasn't much for me to find on her other than books through the library system. It wasn't til I found Ebay in 1999 that I really started to collect. I started my website 2 1/2 years later to share my collection and the other images I've found of her.

I went to England for the first time in Sept 2001, Sept 3rd to be exact. I was in Derby for most of the trip, including Sept 11th. While I was in Derby I contacted the Evelt store that was in Windsor at the time and ordered their Jane doll that they shipped to me while I was still there.

The last 3 days of my trip I was in London, and I found this Brenda Price doll at the Tower of London. It wasn't cheap, but I had to have it! I saw another Brenda Price Jane doll with differences the next day at Hampton Court Palace, but couldn't afford to buy it. Getting them home posed a bit of a challenge as they wouldn't allow anyone to carry anything but meds and stuff on the plane as it was just a week after 9/11 that I flew home. So I had to use all my sweaters and shirts and such to wrap them safely and put them in my luggage and thankfully they got home safely, though the base on the Evelt doll came off.

The rest of the dolls I own I've found on Ebay, with the exception of my Madame Alexander doll which I ordered through a Doll site."

Sonja's website includes this image of a particuarly elegant one-of-a-kind doll of Lady Jane Grey by artist Melissa Wyatt. She is made of fimo and has glass eyes. She's approx. 15" tall.

Since Lady Jane ruled for only nine days, contemporary portraits of this 16-year-old queen were thought to be nonexistent until a London art dealer researched a portrait found in a south London house with the title "Lady Jayne" faintly painted in the top left corner.

"The picture, on which the words "Lady Jayne" are faintly painted in the top left corner, has been in the family of the anonymous owner since it was acquired by his great-grandfather, a collector of 16th-century antiques, a century ago.

Christopher Foley, a prominent London art dealer , said that analysis of the pigment and the oak panel on which the portrait is painted confirmed it as a 16th-century work and costume experts at the Victoria & Albert Museum had dated the figure's striking red dress to between 1550 and 1555.

Additionally, painting analysis at University College, London, confirmed that the inscription had been painted at the same time as the portrait and research at the College of Arms came up with only four possible "Lady Jaynes" of the period. Allowing for birth dates and marital status, Mr Foley believes that Lady Jane Grey is the best candidate.

Web sources about Lady Jane Grey:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Teddy Bear Maker Turns to Biblical Character Dolls

I see a manufacturer of Teddy Bears has opened a new division that is producing multimedia Biblical character dolls that include over 60 seconds of recorded Bible verses. Initially introducing a talking Jesus doll, the company, one2believe, now includes Peter, Paul, David, Moses and Mary.

The 12" dolls have 18 points of articulation including hands that can grasp and hold. Their cloth outfits are hand sewn and some come with additional accessories like David's slingshot. The dolls sell for $19.95 each with free shipping for orders over $100.

The company's vision:

"Messengers of Faith dolls are designed to help parents and educators teach children important Bible stories. These dolls are a 3D teaching resource, featuring recorded Scriptures at the push of a button.
By introducing Bible characters and their stories to children" one character at a time," children can begin to grasp an overall view of Scripture.

Messengers of Faith dolls can be used to help children:

a. Learn Bible stories.
b. Understand Biblical survey and the chronological history of the Bible.
c. Learn the cultural background surrounding the Bible characters and their stories.

The costuming of each doll has been researched to reflect fashions typical of the time period in which the Bible character lived.
Discussing the costume on each doll will add to children's understanding of Biblical culture and history.
Provided with each doll is an easy to read story detailing the life and accomplishments of that character, along with the "script" of the featured recorded Scripture."