Tuesday, 3 May 2011

wedding madness

I've talked before about how my grandmother used to make paper mache dolls and with all the recent hype and celebrations for Wills and Kate I've been up in the attic to sort them out. According to some fusty newspaper cuttings I've found from 1980 she started making miniature dolls with her grandmother's hair pins at the age of six. She was then inspired to make a Royal display for the Queen Mother's 80th birthday celebrations.
However a couple of years later she created Prince Charles and Lady Diana and their wedding party, followed by Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, there are a lot of bridesmaids in this collection. Along with Royalty my grandmother's leanings towards the eccentric and kitsch can be seen in her models of Danny La Rue, Marilyn Monroe, Liberache, oh, and Margaret Thatcher!

I love the way the faces are heavily made up because Grandma herself used to spend hours perfecting her make up each morning. When she came to stay I remember sitting on the loo in the bathroom, watching her, fascinated as she went through her daily routine which included lots of rouge, bright red lipstick (to match her infamous collection of patented red shoes) and heavy green eyeshadow. And with all that make up there was a very distinctive powdery smell.

I think I've also mentioned before how I have strong memories of sitting with my grandmother making dolls clothes so I was intrigued to observe, and probably for the first time really appreciate, the attention to detail and the amount of painstaking work that went into making these. All the costumes have been completely hand stitched and lots of the embellishments have been added by Grandma - endless sequins and tiny shiny beads.

So now that they are out of the attic I need to decide where they should go next.


  1. They are wonderful dolls - how lovely to have such memories of your grandmother.
    My Nan was the most wonderful woman and I STILL think of her often.

    Diane. x

  2. How lovely that you still have them to admire - so glad they are out of the attic!


  3. What a fab inheritance! I bet you see something 'new' on the figures each time you look at them, they are so detailed.
    I have some beautiful cutwork embroidery that my Nan started on the long boat journey to India to join her Royal Artillery husband just after the Great War. I shall always treasure it.

  4. they are a bit spooky - i bet mr p is not thrilled that they have escaped!!
    what about a museum?!