Looking at this charming vignette I wonder if it's not a portrait of the doll collector, Dorothea, as a young girl. A time more innocent, before WWII. Yesterday we met the doll collector and today we will see a few of her dolls. Her husband Manfred built this window seat and Dorothea painted the watercolor "window". When one flees ones' country with only the clothes on their back and their childhood doll I suspect either a person would either grow to love or hate dolls. Dorothea grew to love them.
Curious about the celluloid dolls in this photo I had to do a little research. Celluloid was first made in the 1860's and is semi-synthetic. It's clear and could be dyed to imitate many natural materials. The dolls have a sort of luminosity that you just can't get with the darker Bakelite. Celluloid has a few drawbacks, it's extremely flammable and deteriorates with moisture. Celluloid dolls needed some care to survive and to continue to survive. Most celluloid dolls were made between 1900 and 1950. When you think of war and upheaval in Europe during these times think how squirrelled away and cared for these dolls must have been to have survived. I can only imagine some young girl having one as her only possession and keeping her safe as she was kept safe.
The Christmas scene and the grouping on the left are new dolls, some of them made by Dorothea and some made by other doll artists. I often wonder how anyone in this world can ever get bored when there are worlds within worlds. Worlds for you to create. Just open the door to the next room and create a miniature world. A world of never ending ideas for the next display and to come up with the suitable clothing and accoutrement's. The dolls dressed in their white lacy finery and perched atop little wicker chairs are antique. The massive case divided into kitchens and schoolrooms and scenes of everyday life was built by Manfred who didn't take up woodworking until a few years ago. A retired man and woman in a small English seaside village create perfect little scenes of everyday life and care for the dolls. And someday a new generation will delight in these and take over their care and keep them safe.