Victor Hugo said of a small girl playing the doll that she satisfied the deepest
instinct of the woman. A small girl, indeed, indifferent to dolls would seem
abnormal as would be a boy who would not care at all about soldiers or ships.


zzzzzzzHer Majesty Queen Victoria died in eighty two years after sixty years from reign. She had become from the age of 12 years, heir présomptive of the throne after the death of her father. When she lived still in the very tense atmosphere of Kensington's old castle with her parents, that is well before to become a queen, the small princess Alexandrina - because she was called so (she will appeal by the second first name, Victoria, only later)-, appeared in first position in the hereditary order in the crown, but this place of choice was constantly at mercy of the birth of a heir Male which would have been better placed. Her mother, Victoire, and her secretary, the schemer Conroy, multiplied moreover sets competing for power, persuading notably the Parliament to nominate her as regent, - the health of the sovereign, Guillaume IV, being precarious, and trying and obtaining to force Victoria to submit herself to her will by agreeing to remain under her regent's custody until her twenty one years, (that is three years even after the legal age to acced to throne). Receiving few visits, Victoria, mostly only, had enjoyed to constitute a remarkable collection of dolls.




The publication of an article in " Strand Magazine " in 1893, realizing those with that her Majesty had played in her childhood, had aroused a big curiosity and a lot interest. It was due, doubtless,  to the personality of the Queen but also, certainly , to the feeling more profoundly anchored in the heart of the Britishs, their affection, their loyal interest in facts and gestures of their great Sovereign.
Child, the Queen Victoria was involved in her dolls and played with them until  the age of almost fourteen years. They were small wooden dolls that she often dressed herself. She had a house in which she could install them. The future Queen saw suits that she had seen in the theater or in the daily life. She brought to it a big care, an attention and an importance . A moving and very interesting proof to be found in an ordinary
copy-book now little yellow with years on the inside cover of which is written in a  childish but determinated handwritting " Archives of dolls ".





Then follows  in a delicate feminine writing the name of each doll, whom it was dressed, what she represents and which - though this is sometimes omitted - when the doll is a dancer, date and name of the ballet are, what which determines the exact time of the garment, for example, between 1831 and 1833.


Hundred thirty two dolls preserved respectable figure, the Queen herself seems to have dressed at least thirty-two, Baroness Lehzen sometimes helped with something, because that is scrupulously recorded in this little notebook. 





These dolls really deserved to be transmitted to posterity as an example of patience, ingenuity and know-how of a exquisite Princess twelve years.

 It is not what is called the " beautiful dolls. " No leathers thin biscuit very pure, complicated mechanisms. Instead, it seems it simple dolls you could buy for pennies in any bazaar. At the time, the beautiful doll was not easy to obtain but it is also possible that the young Princess preferred to those funny little wooden creatures, finding them more suitable for the representation of historical and theatrical, perhaps ... In any case, they comprise the entire collection. These are small puppets perfectly articulated knees, thighs, elbows and shoulders, able to perform any act or have any attitude ...





It  is true that they are not aesthetically beautiful. German-style face, sometimes with a nutcracker chin, nose a little too right .... expressions are very varied, but with the exception of height, which ranges from three to nine inches, they are all similar

 And if the pleasures of the imagination, creation and realization are delicious in the child, making clothes for 32 dolls was a particularly ingenious work for such a young child. There is no doubt that the Princess had a lot of pure happiness with his large family of wood. There is a very touching mixture of childhood and maturity in their young faces.



And this precisely because of the combination of small sharp nose and cheeks and bright vermilion, broad brow, well separated on each temple are painted with elaborate ringlets quaint and gray while the remaining hair, deep black is identified by a yellow comb, tiny, perched on top of the head.
.
LLLL Every luxury was in costume! The clothes are made of materials the most extraordinary: the most precious silks, lace high-priced, small jewelry work infinitely delicate, nothing was too good for these ladies. As for the worker who dressed them, everyone could not use such a! LL Think !..... the future Queen herself! It was at that time, personalities that we would say very "current".
LThey were divided into large ladies, famous artists, or in simple peasant maids .... Victoria gave them because the look of the characters of his relatives or his entourage. Among the ladies, the Countess of Rothesey, Lady Brighton, Princess Collovowsky etc., all beautifully dressed in long robes with their trains, their wigs, their broad hats. Among artists, there were the celebrities of the day: Miss Pauline Duvernay in fairy costume, from Sleeping Beauty, Miss Porphyrin Brocard single dancer costume, on the dancer Taglioni, so famous at the time It is not less than three times in different costumes, that of William Tell, La Sylphide and Bayadere.





There are also three men there are only seven or eight in all, the collection, (1) and some delicious little baby, tiny, made of fabric, with faces painted muslin. Fluency in dresses is truly exquisite: folds tiny, finely stitched, tiny pockets of aprons, all delicately finished, to Lilliputian handkerchiefs! - A half inch - bordered days son learned and initials embroidered in red silk, there are ladies of white pearls and gold so small they slip by escaping from the hands, and we can not being hit again by the address, the skill and patience that must have the indefatigable young child !


Queen Victoria has played as a child receiving a liberal education in the midst of fleeting influences and modes of the first part of the nineteenth century. But a thorough study of this childhood imaginative show us the scenes that have affected the stories that have enchanted characters who retained his costume party and have impressed her imagination


 

Thus we find in the course of his childhood, through these dolls, the qualities of calmness, patience, firmness, tenacity shown successively by Queen Victoria in the official part of his life after the death of his father King, became heir presumptive to the throne, her old governess, the Duchess of Northumberland devised using these dolls certainly a game as fun as sewing but also at least as useful as that which they had lent both up to date. To teach his students the Royal Ceremonial very long and complicated court, she urged him to repeat it using her dolls.


ZZThus every night, dolls, provided titles and functions, were arrayed on the large table in the dining room of Kensington, and the housekeeper, taking her hand in a doll dressed in royal robes representing Victoria The walking in the midst of all these characters making everyone a home to which he was entitled.
 Thus the young Queen could, at the time of his advent, amaze the whole court by her poise, and skill with which she knew, from day one, receive and process each according to his rank.


Such is the story summarized dolls of Queen Victoria, history recalled in one of the largest newspapers in London, The Strand Magazine in 1893.
A very beautiful and very rare book that I am privileged to have been published at the time with the permission of the queen herself - and corrected it by the way ! - Entitled " Queen Victoria's Dolls " by Frances H. Low .
It is beautifully illustrated by Alan Wright watercolors dolls. Some of them illustrate this article. The latter also owes much to the year 1893 for "My Journal" in the year 1901 still "My Journal" Mrs Annie Porot which provided me the material and the magazine "Doll News" published by Autumn UFDCen 2003 - Article by Martha M. Martin

It is also history and its pathways. But Victoria, who loved her dolls, was also an accomplished young woman, sensitive as we are ourselves to family celebrations and carillonnées. Thus, she introduced the tradition of the Christmas tree in the United Kingdom, which provide a Christmas tree every year in his palace.

" We still speak of time in history where Queen Bertha was spinning. Perhaps, in hundreds of years do we speak also of the time when Queen Victoria dressed her dolls."

 

Hélène BUGAT-PUJOL

 

 

( 1 ) "There are also some dolls that are gentlemen, but we will not because we do not like dolls whiskers! "(My Journal 1893)






The interest of the royal family for the dolls he would from that shown by the young Queen Victoria ?
 Here is a photo taken in 1930 of Queen Mary.

 
 
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