Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Kimport Dolls were produced by McKim Studios, founded in Independence, Missouri by artist Ruby Short McKim, 1891-1976.
"Ruby Short McKim, 1891-1976, was the prototype for today's modern woman. Artist, author, businesswoman, wife and mother - she excelled in all areas. A graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Ruby returned to Independence to become the Art Supervisor for the Kansas City Public Schools. After her marriage to Arthur McKim, she began her work as an advisor to Child Life Magazine and created a continuity strip that was one of the first in syndication. This feature in the Chicago Daily News ran for many years. As a couple, the McKims opened a mail-order outlet, McKim Studios, which specialized in needlecraft items and in antique and foreign dolls. At this same time, Ruby was Art Needlework Editor for Better Homes and Gardens." - McKim Studios Revival: Ruby Short McKim
[Image (right) courtesy of McKim Studios]
Her artistry was also expressed in water colors and oils as well as quilt designs that she syndicated to newspapers and eventually incorporated into the book One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns. Her talent was formally recognized after her death when she was posthumously named to the Quilters Hall of Fame in 2002.
McKim Studios still offers many of her award-winning patterns for sale on their website.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Joe's MSN website is closed and I could not find any replacement. But, I found a brief bio for Joe (a woman) on another collector's website.
Joe was born and lives in west Texas. She started designing dolls in March of 2001 after being encouraged by her sister who is also a doll designer. She says her first attempt with a used Barbie and a few scraps of material from a nearby Wal-Mart was a nightmare but after several months and many scrapped designs later she really began to enjoy it. She is purely self taught and has no degrees or formal training but has garnered some impressive awards including the BMAA Reader's Choice and the Custom Dolls convention Best of Show.
In addition to the Cleopatra offered for sale on Ebay, I also found images of several more of Joe's designs with a historical flair:
Friday, May 09, 2008
I noticed this interesting bisque doll by Lee Ed up on Ebay. Further research indicates Lee Ed produced a number of shoulder head bisque dolls in the mid 1950s. This particular doll, created in 1955, is Napoleon's first girlfriend and one-time fiancee, Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary. The doll is beautifully sculpted and detailed and measures 17" high. Since I spend most of my time studying the ancient world rather than Napoleon's era, I had never heard of her. Although she was engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte, she eventually married Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, and crowned Queen Desideria of Sweden.
Désirée Clary was born in Marseille, France, the daughter of François Clary, a wealthy silk manufacturer and merchant, and his second wife Françoise Rose Somis.
"Her husband was appointed governor of Hanover in 1804-1805, Prince of Pontecorvo 1806 and was one the leading generals in the French Napoleonic army; he was made heir to the Swedish throne in 1810 and, after success in war, to the Norwegian throne in 1814.
Desirée visited Sweden for the first time in 1810 but could not accustom herself to the demands of formal court etiquette. She was said to have been treated with a certain snobbery by the court and especially the queen, Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp, though the old dowager queen Sophia Magdalena of Denmark was kind to her. The climate was also a shock. It must be added, however, that according to descriptions, she seems to have behaved in a very "spoiled" manner and made no attempt to be liked, as she had never wished to be a queen and did not want to move so far away from her family. She left Sweden in 1811 under the name of "Countess of Gotland", officially because of her health, and returned to Paris. There she stayed for twelve years, leaving not only her husband but also her son behind. She herself said that the Swedish nobility had treated her as if they were made of ice: "Do not talk with me of Sweden, I get a cold as soon as I hear the word." In 1818, her husband became king, but she remained in Paris. In Sweden, her husband took a mistress, the noblewoman Mariana Koskull.
In 1823, Desiree returned to Sweden together with her son's bride, Josephine of Leuchtenberg, and in 1829, she was crowned queen at her own request. The 1830s were a period when she did her best to be active as a queen, a role she had never wanted to play. The decade is described as a time of balls and parties, more than had been seen at the Swedish court since the days of King Gustav III of Sweden, but Desiree soon grew tired of her royal status and wanted to return to France; her husband wouldn't allow it. She never became very popular and never learned to speak Swedish. After she was widowed, she grew more and more eccentric; she went to bed in the morning, she got up in the evening, she ate breakfast at night, and she drove around in a carriage through the streets, in the courtyard, or wandered around the corridors of the sleeping castle with a light. On the last day of her life, she entered her box at the opera just as the performance had ended." - Wikipedia
The novel Désirée by Annemarie Selinko is based on actual events in her life and was made into a movie, Désirée (1954), an American film with Jean Simmons and Marlon Brando.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
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: