Monday, 7 December 2009

Daily Candy

For the best Christmas Gift Guides, you have to go online where these editors work tirelessly to find really fabulous and different present ideas.
Today we are on Daily Candy. Our hand made Nutcracker Theatre has been hand picked and features in a  Christmas poem - it makes you feel joyful about Christmas Shopping! The elves are working so hard now, hardly anytime to write - too busy....

Saturday, 21 November 2009

What a Dolly Christmas!

The Covent Garden lights and decorations are up and the Pollock's tree has been adorned... this year with dollies, snow babies, polka dot rag dolls and angels. Glass baubles, belgian glittered cherubs, father christmas jumping jacks are all for sale in the shop now, hurry fast they're proving popular.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Aladdin, the Panto

Come and watch Joe perform his one man panto. Hilarious, delightful camp fun in paper. Tickets now available online and from the shop.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Toy Theatre Show in Covent Garden

It's the pantomime season and this year Pollock's in Covent Garden will be putting on their very own one! Joe Gladwin will be performing Aladdin at Tuttons restaurant in Covent Garden on the 13th December. Only 2 performances for this wonderful panto in miniature. The show is suitable for children over 5 and adults. Tickets will soon be available from the shop or on the website. Get in the Christmas mood with a traditional Victorian show.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Toy Testing

Just to prove that we try to test most of our toys - here's Simon playing the accordion in the shop (a real 'toy' instrument). This was one of a set of photographs capturing a day at Pollocks by photographer Yang Zhou.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Listen to the Birdy

We are featured today on the Wee Birdy Blog. All the best shops in London are there with great pictures which make you want to go shopping! Wee Birdy is in the know.
Victorian reproduction scraps available in the shop all the time and as a set on the website.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Nathalie Lete Theatre

Finally we have received delivery of our Nathalie Lete theatres. When we saw this earlier in the year we couldn't wait to stock it. We are fans of chic French illustrator Nathalie Lete who draws inspiration from her vintage toy collection. We also have new stock of Petitcollin dolls (as featured riding on the elephant). The theatre is only available in store and we have limited stock. Hurry!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Gilliam's Imaginarium

Terry Gilliam's film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus open's today in the UK. The Imaginarium is a Victorian-era travelling show in London. I wonder if production designer Anastasia Masaro had a look at toy theatres. The imagery and costumes look fantastic.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Countdown to Christmas

I know it's only October but some customers are already asking if our glitter advent calenders are in. And as of this week - they are! An alternative to the chocolate variety these attractive, traditional advents are very popular so rush in while we have a variety of designs.

Charles Eames with his Pollock's Toy Theatre

Another icon pictured with Pollockry. Browsing through this Taschen book I just bought on mid-century design pioneers 'Charles & Ray Eames', I spotted the Pollock's Regency theatre in this picture of Charles in his studio.(I'm not sure what the rope is for) Although known for their sleek modernism, the Eames were keen on toys and my personal favourite is their House of Cards. They also made flip books and tops - we  just received some stock of similar tops to theirs that can be made from card and they really live up to their name of "Fab Tops". Great stocking fillers.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Are Dean's Dollies Darling

A funny coincidence - I was given this deluxe book 'Dean's Rag Books & Rag Dolls' by Peter & Dawn Cope which documents the archive of the Dean's Rag Book Company. At the same time we acquired these 5 fabulous, original 1920s Deans dolls to sell. Now all gone, apart from one which is still available in the shop. The book is really worth a look for anyone interested in children's book  illustration, textile design and toys.

Mademoiselle Rozier as Colombine

Currently on sale at the shop is this lovely lady. With a few admirers including Simon she won't be around long. He says "Mme. Rozier is a very romantic tinsel portrait. Her look is wholesome and more contemporary than most. She is a very decorative example of the art form with tinsel flowers and good colour". The picture is an original 19th Century Theatrical Portrait - it has some spotting and is not in its original frame but we will be sad to see her go. Price on request and we can show you more unframed 'tinsels' all featuring famous actors of the Victorian stage.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Online Site Now Online!

Our online shopping is now available. It took us a while to get to grips with technology but we are finally ready. My son (age 6) was keen to help with the design for the site. Go shopping!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Saving Britain's Past and predicting the lottery

A tall order for one week. But they were two British TV programmes we made a guest appearance in this week. BBC2's 'Saving Britain's Past' was an excellent programme on the 'fight for Covent Garden Market' from the developers in the 1970s. Fabulous footage and pictures of the fruit and veg market from Clive Boursnell's book. The shot of our doorway hopefully represented the 'seductive' side of the modern Covent Garden. One of our theatres also popped up on Derren's Brown programme on Channel 4. Illustrating "The Wisdom of Crowds" something to do with an Ox (Simon had to draw the Ox as the real play used was lacking) anyway the theory was part of him Predicting the Lottery Numbers. A master of mind control, Derren Brown has been into the shop - but we were rather worried he had hypnotised us to hand over our days takings. And to show how versatile we are on TV, we featured earlier on in the year in the BBC's 'Changing of the Bard' Ian Hislop's illuminating programme on the history of the Poet Laureate. 

Back to School

September is always a time for re-organisation.  Time to dust off the theatres and a spot of gold paint and re-tinselling in time for our busy period. Earlier in the year we spruced ourselves up and sorted out the toy theatre sheets by having custom made drawers and shelves built by Bear Joinery. Inspired by a Belgian 18th century sweet shop seen in Ghent. Please come and have a browse as the drawers are being stocked regularly with antique finds, toy theatre sheets, cut-outs, theatrical portraits. The stairwell is receiving it's facelift too but as we always say "you pay extra for the dust" so we are still authentically well....dusty.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Shadow Puppets

And talking of Halloween (Zeel bats) I'm starting to think about spooky goodies. One of the new items we are getting in is a shadow theatre from Chicago laser cutter/puppet designer Andrea. Just a sneak preview here. Her shadow puppets have been very popular in the shop and we will hope to get some online. She said Halloween is her favourite holiday and I love these spooky houses she makes.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Lucy and her Clothkits Cape

and just to show you the fantastic Clothkits cape designed and loaned to us by the originator of Clothkits, Anne Kennedy. This was one of her early designs and came on one sheet of fabric to make up along with the muffler. Clothkits has now been re-launched and is created by a range of designers including illustrator of the moment Rob Ryan (he of the paper-cut).
The Cape is modelled by Lucy, made for us by Zeel - who also makes lots of weird and wonderful toys, some of which are even a bit too strange for Pollocks. Though the bats may make an appearance for Halloween.

Toyshops, Shelves & Shopelves

You could buy Sasha Dolls at Tridias in South Kensington, which was a great toyshop of the 1960s/70s. I believe the last reincarnation of the business has recently been taken over/closed down. When we were researching for the Mini Me exhibition I became interested in Paul & Marjorie Abbatt's Toyshop, designed by Erno Goldfinger in 1936, situated in Wimpole Street, W1.
They made educational toys and the shop looks like a modernists dream. Goldfinger's house in Hampstead, 2 Willow Road is open to the public and is currently showing an exhibition of his toys that he made for his children and the Abbatts. I found out about the show from shelf appeal, "a blog about things, anything you can put on a shelf" which appeals to the shopkeeper in me.....and the Shopelves.

Ossie Clark & Sasha Dolls

Celia Birtwell kindly lent us her sons gold biker jacket actually made for him by his father Ossie Clark. We also exhibited original Biba kids' clothes and another 60s/70s toy icon - the Sasha Doll. Designed by Swiss artist Sasha Morgenthaler, they were first produced in the 1960s. These ones exhibited were lent to us by manager Simon. He also put on a small exhibition of them with Emily Dyson at her Notting Hill Shop, Couverture. He is currently on a beginners computer course so that eventually he can bring you his own doll blog because we've got other things to talk about here, but for any doll lovers it will be worth seeing (when it happens!)

Boutique Era Toys and Clothes

Here are the pictures of the Mini Me Exhibition as promised.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A Mini, Mini Me - Past Exhibition

My friend Sarah and I put on the Mini Me Exhibition at Pollock's Toy Museum (no business relation) in 2007. It was a nostalgic look at when kids clothes first became fashionable. It featured clothes, catalogues, posters and toys from Biba, Clothkits, Kids in Gear, Woolmark, Ossie Clark, Galt Toys and Sasha Dolls amongst others. Now Sarah is just about to have her first Mini Me it reminded me of the project. Unfortunately we had to give some of the fabulous clothes back (of course!) We interviewed the designers of the time as well as collectors and it was fascinating. It was a challenge to mount the exhibition within the Doll Room of Pollocks (not your usual white walls for exhibiting) but it kind of worked. It was on for a short run and people have asked to see images so will post them.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Shoreditch Star and Toy Theatre

Illustrator and comic artist Geoff Coupland was commissioned by the Shoreditch Star to illustrate his toy theatre workshop day. He worked with children from a local primary school in the area where Benjamin Pollock had his original shop. The children's newspaper is published by The Shoreditch Trust. The 21st century kids loved making toy theatres and this is the comic.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

John Lennon & Pollocks

How to John Lennon

In the Telegraph newspaper August 14th 2009

A picture of John Lennon relaxing at his mock-Tudor mansion on Weybridge, Surrey in 1967 was featured. "Here, Lennon surrounds himself with art, toys and a fake coal fire" also on the wall are some Pollock's theatrical portraits. Grimaldi and Colombine look over him reading on his cane sofa. Follow the link to see the actual picture.