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Ellie

  • Object:

    Doll

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    2001 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Roche, Lynne and Michael (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lime wood body and moulded bisque head

  • Museum number:

    B.9-2002

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Creativity Gallery, case 10

The doll reflects the enthusiasm of her makers, Lynne and Michael Roche, for producing dolls inspired by artwork which shows children and childhood objects. Ellie is from their 2001 collection: her face was based on that of the younger child by the cradle in a ca. 1850 painting called 'Das Jüngste Brüderchen' (The Youngest Brother), by Johann Georg Meyer von Bremen, which he bequeathed to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Meyer von Bremen (1813-1886) created a number of genre paintings, many of which feature women and/ or children: according to one of his descendants, he was known in some circles as 'KinderMeyer' (literally ChildrenMeyer) for the frequency with which he depicted the young.

Physical description

Doll called 'Ellie', with a carved lime wood body and jointed limbs, and moulded bisque head and hands. She has inset brown eyes, a closed mouth and a wig of blonde mohair in ringlet curls.

Clothes: V-necked pinafore dress of soft coral-coloured wool, fastening on the shoulders and at the waist back with buttons and stitched buttonholes; the skirt and integral petticoat gathered to the bodice (which is lined with coral and white striped fabric) at the waist. The hem and the large breast pocket are decorated with three lines of running stitch in coloured threads, and the pocket is also decorated with an appliqué figure of a soldier doffing his cap to a real miniature 'Dutch' doll in a pale blue dress.

Single-breasted waistcoat of black woollen fabric flecked with white and lined with a blue and white cotton print showing leaves; the garment fastens the length of the front with press studs beneath glass buttons.

Jumper of fawn and white wool, knitted in stocking stitch, with the ribbed cuffs and welt and the moss stitch collar in fawn wool; the garment fastens the length of the back with buttons and buttonholes.

Knickers of white cotton jersey; white cotton ankle socks with scalloped tops; brown leather T-bar shoes with buckle fastenings.

Pixie hood of fawn, white and pomegranate pink wool, knitted in stocking stitch with a moss stitch brim and chin strap and trimmed with a woollen tassel at the crown and a knitted bow at the brim; scarf of fawn and pomegranate pink wool with a button-through fastening; black mittens of the same fabric as the waistcoat, with white knitted cuffs; drum-shaped handbag of waistcoat fabric and coloured patchwork containing a miniature golly in a blue jacket and red trousers.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

2001 (made)

Artist/maker

Roche, Lynne and Michael (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Lime wood body and moulded bisque head

Marks and inscriptions

ELLIE 16/ LGR 2001
Back of doll's head; writing; pigment

Michael Roche
Signature; Doll's true right buttock; writing; ink

LYNNE and MICHAEL ROCHE DOLLMAKERS/ Ellie / 16/ M Lynne Roche/ 2001
Makers marks; Swing tag attached to doll's true right wrist; printing; printing ink (annotated)

Dimensions

Height: 48 cm

Object history note

Chosen for the re-display of the doll gallery by Caroline Goodfellow, the museum's curator of dolls, as her last purchase before retirement. 'Ellie' was chosen because the inspiration for her theme came from Florence and Bertha Upton's book 'The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg', and the museum also has the Uptons' dolls and golly which inspired the books.

Historical context note

The Golliwogg character first featured in Bertha and Florence Upton's book 'The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg' (1895) and was based on a toy that reflected the 'Blackface' performance tradition. Towards the end of the 19th century, the character gained popularity and toy makers saw potential. Golly dolls and soft toys were mass produced and the character featured in toys, games and other childhood paraphernalia.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the term 'golliwog' was appropriated as a racial slur, and the character itself was seen as promoting negative stereotypes. From the 1960s onward, the golly has gradually been withdrawn from children's culture.

Descriptive line

'Ellie', dressed doll by Lynne and Michael Roche; UK, 2001

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail

Materials

Lime wood; Bisque

Techniques

Hand carving; Moulding

Categories

Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys

Production Type

Limited edition

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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