Tuesday, 29 September 2009
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.
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
Thursday, 17 September 2009
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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!)
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
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
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.