Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The sweetest new Old Pretender

We are so pleased with this most sweet and lovely new Old Pretender. Just lovely at 12 inches tall, she feels so wonderful in hand. Her dress is meticulously fashioned from from a well preserved fragment of the most delicate mid 18th century dress silk.
She is based on a mid 18th century antique example but even has a sweeter, more engaging expression and personality. Her head tilts forward ever so slightly like some antiques do which gives her a sweet, slightly coy look of a young girl or young lady.
For all the shoe lovers out there, take note that her shoes are just adorable as well.
She is as of yet, not spoken for so if you are interested in adding her to your collection do get in touch.
Thank you J!

Happy Holidays: David & Paul

A very unusual new doll from the Old Pretenders

Hello everyone... I make it a point to never allow myself to have “artistic license” when making any reproduction of a antique English wooden doll. If we did, it would not look at all like a historically correct antique English wooden replica.
Having said that, I did allow some artistic freedom to happen with this very unique and unusual doll this time.
This past summer we were lucky enough to acquire a really lovely and rare artifact. A 2000 year old Roman terracotta head in wonderful condition which we both just loved and had to have.
She has such an amazing face and Paul said, why don’t you try to incorporate her features into one of our English wooden dolls for a change? It could be a very interesting doll, so that's what I did.
She has a basic late 17th century body type and like Paul said, even with her unique face, she is just strange and unusual enough to look like a real thing. One of those obscure dolls that there seems to only be one of and no one has ever seen another antique quite like it, like the rare 18th century German wooden we dressed for a friend a couple years ago with the swivel / nodding head.
When it came to dressing her, I
though she that maybe she might need a fancy court style dress but was not sure what fabrics to use. When I set down to work on her, I saw some old scraps laying there of very early and rare 18th century linen that was the backing of a court dress silk bodice with original stitching still in tact. With the doll having a really nice and authentic heavier patina, the dress of course really needed to match so that it looks like its been on her for 300 years, like the antique she is “pretending” to be as a good Old Pretender doll should do.
I started making her a corset type bodice and it hit me to keep up this very aged, soiled and dingy patina on the entire dress, which actually matches the doll's patina well also. She now has a very authentic and quite aged overall patina and I am really happy with the results....Never fails, I always gravitate to the simply dressed dolls but simple, never means simple to make. A dress like this which appears to be very early and old is quite a challenge and one of the hardest types to create.
Hope everyone enjoys her photos.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hi everyone....We have not stopped making dolls, don't worry, just have not had a new doll to post recently due to a wonderful and very unique, very rare early English wooden from 1720 which needed my expertise in restoration / conservation work to save her all original face paint and surface which I was happily, very successful in doing. Now she needs the perfect dress ensemble as well so Paul and I have that the complete.
In the meantime, I though I would just post a few photos of old favourites which I will add to so no one gets to bored ;o) I'll add more photos to this post in the next day or two.
Best Wishes: David



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our latest William and Mary Period English Wooden

Here are some photos of our latest and very lovely William and Mary period English wooden, made for a special client who loves these wonderful 17th century dolls as much as we do.
She has the classic W&M period face and body type, identical to the antique doll we have here that she is based on. She is dressed in a most lovely piece of 17th century silk dating from around 1660.
Her dress reminds me of a English garden in summer.
Everything about her is just magical including the way she feels in hand.
Best Wishes: David

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A lovely new Old Pretender

We had so many people wanting the last little 11 inch doll in pink and white that we posted last on the blog, that we decided we should make another in this size with a equally lovely little face to make you smile.
We are very pleased with our newest little lady and at 11.5 inches tall, she is full of personality and a very serene presence for sure. Her lovely face and smile and her pale ivory complexion and patina match perfectly to her subtle colours of her antique dress fabric. The doll and dress compliment each other so well and the patina and colour palette is a perfect match from doll to dress, making her look like she has been around for a very long time.
Guaranteed to make someone very happy for sure.
Best Wishes; David & Paul

Monday, July 30, 2012

A lovely letter from the owner of Mayzie Applebottom, the English wooden I just restored in the post below

My name is Janice and I am the owner of dear sweet little Mayzie Applebottom.
I have fallen in love with early wooden dolls and their incredible history. So it should not surprise any of you that when I found this little 200 year old + doll I had to bring her home. The poor little doll's face was literally falling apart and was in danger of coming off all together. If I did not get something done quickly she would sadly continue to deteriorate. Who could save her?
I knew of only two restorationist in the world who can do museum quality restorations on early wooden dolls. I knew from talking to others, reading extensively about their work, and speaking with them personally, that David and Paul first and foremost work to keep the original historical integrity of any doll they work in as original as possible.
They have been know to purchase a doll sent for complete restoration to protect the doll in the original condition for future generations. They have brought poorly repainted early wooden dolls and turned back time on the shoddy work to bring the original beauty of the doll back to life.
I spoke with David explaining the wooden doll's damage and was excited when he said to send her on.
He asked me what her name was and I had to confess she had not told me yet!
When she arrived at their studio David and Paul confirmed that this dear little one's face was virtually hanging on by the threads of her original wig.
David went over the restoration process in detail and told me he would keep take all steps to keep her as original as possible. He would secure her floating gesso face to her wooden head and fill in the tiny missing pieces and very carefully blend the paint to keep the original painting intact.
David and Paul are true professionals. I received close up photos all along the way of the restoration being done on to her face.
I was thrilled to watch the little early wooden blossom under their care! True to his word David left all the original paint and face intact.
The final day of her stay David wrote with great news that she was ready at last to travel home. He sent more detailed before and after pictures. She was beautiful once again.
He also announced that Paul was able to get the little one to tell him her name. Mayzie Applebottom. The perfect name for such a sweet little ragamuffin!
When Mayzie arrived home I carefully unwrapped her and there she lay snuggles in her own wooden box, loving made by David and Paul, with her name on the inside.
She looked 200+ years old! l saw no signs of restoration whatsoever. Tears immediately came to my eyes. She had stepped right from a little girl's arms in the year 1820 into my hands here in 2012.
I felt so touched and overwhelmed when I examined her little face. David's restoration work was beyond amazing. She looked like she had never suffered damaged. Every original line and paint detail was still there. I could not see where she had been restored even under a magnifying glass!
Little Mayzie Applebottom is simply magnificent all in thanks to David's fine restoration, intricate expertise, and loving care.
I have made copies of Mayzie's before and after pictures so her history will stay with her always.
I highly recommend David and Paul's museum quality restoration work if you need any work done on early woodens, papier mache, or carton moule dolls. You will be truly amazed!
Thank you once again David and Paul!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Restoration of Mayzie Applebottom

With permission of the owner of this wonderful little early 19th century English wooden, I wanted to show the restoration that I have finished on her and am very proud of the results.
This was a very difficult restoration for obvious reasons other than her small size of 10 inches tall. Her little plaster face had popped and lifted severely over the years from the wood underneath expanding and contracting and had been crushed in the middle as seen in the before restoration photos below.
It was in two pieces which were only being held on by the glued on wig. Bother facial piece were literally flopping up and down. I am surprised she made it to us in the mail with the face still holding on, but she did. There was shattering in the center where the crushing was as well and sever lifting everywhere as can bee seen in the photos.
I have developed techniques over the years which give me amazing results with my restoration work.
All of what you see in the after restoration photos is her original face re-attached and sealed back to the wood without removing it and without touching any of her original paint. I filled and restored the damaged areas and cracks and only restored/ repainted these areas to match and did not touch any of her original paint. Basically I restored / repaired the damage and put back what paint was missing because of the damage.
Her new owner, a friend of ours was thrilled with the restoration and Mayzie will have another 200 years hopefully with her good as new old face.
Mayzie of course is the latest type of English wooden, dating from around the 1820's but she is a very rare little survivor indeed. She may have been of the latest made, cheap and cheerful type of English wooden of her day, but these simple little dolls were either played with so much or just thrown away when their face popped and lifted and fell off, like in Mayzie’s case. So very few of these little examples have survived in 100% all original condition from head to toe like Mayzie. The ones who have are rarely untouched like Mayzie. She is indeed 100% all original in every aspect including her arms and legs and that amazing wig and headpiece of her period. The only thing she is missing is her sheer gossamer thin over dress which has rotted away over the years, only bits of it remain around her waistline. Luckily our friend who owns her agrees with us, that she should be left just as she is and nothing done to make a replacement over dress.
I though everyone would enjoy seeing this rare little survivor.

The e-mail below I received from Mayzie’s owner when she arrived home.

DAVID: I about cried when my little ragamuffin Mayzie arrived home in her little box with her name inscribed within. She looks like she had been put there a couple hundred years ago and had slept peacefully until I opened up her box!
I can hardly believe the fantastic job you did on her. Not even a museum curator would know she had once had broken and floating face. You Mr. Chapman are an extraordinary restorationist, artist and magician! No one can do what you do with early English wooden dolls. She is magnificent! There is no other English word that comes close.
To see her for the first time and in her little box made my Christmas in July!!!!
She looks amazing David!!
Thank you so very much.