Friday, 10 September 2010

Dolly Darlings

It was the overwhelming nostalgia I feel for my lost Dolly Darlings that first led me to Kitsch and Curious Elaine's blog. In fact, until recently, I wasn't even aware that the dolls I loved as a child were even branded as Dolly Darlings. To me they were individuals with their own names: DeeDee, Katherine, Samantha, Belinda and, I think, Jennifer. Many of my dolls were called Samantha or Belinda in those days -- they didn't have strong enough personalities to reserve a name just for themselves. But DeeDee and Katherine, along with Lucy and Angela, had strong personalities.

Katherine: not really so maternal
       DeeDee was a Sixties chick, a go-getter and a bit of a radical. Katherine was, in my imagination, Scottish and rather disapproving -- she applied a motherly brake to DeeDee's overarching ambitions. Lucy and Angela were different sorts of dolls.

Lucy couture
      Lucy was a tiny rubber doll with a vast wardrobe of fraying frocks all made in the same way: a rectangle of fabric with a head hole and integral ties to fasten it at her back.

 Angela was also rubber, slightly bigger. She originally had a pink fleecy duffel coat. Now, shockingly, all that remains is the hood, which is slightly kinky. But she must be forgiven as she suffered years of trauma, having been abandoned in our loft, only to be found after about a decade, perhaps having had the rest of her duffel coat nibbled off by owls, who knows.

DeeDee and Katherine, post-guillotine
      But, worse still, all that remains of DeeDee and Katherine is their heads. And I can't even remember why.
           Recently I acquired Miss Julia Locket.

Miss Julia Locket: wise and intuitive
I never had a Julia Locket as a child, but, strangely, I actually find her more evocative than the dolls and toys that I have owned for around forty years. Her gaze is intense and she makes me think of a little plastic Sybil (of the Delphic kind, not Mrs Basil Fawlty).
      All these photos were part of a project I did in 2008 and they make up a larger piece:

Apart from Julia Locket, all the images show toys I've had since childhood. I wanted to see whether these long-owned toys had any particular aura of 'lovedness' but in all honesty I'm not sure they do, which is sad, I think. Perhaps it's because I've betrayed them by turning to Julia Locket.

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