Since I mentioned on my About Sharla page that I collect authentically costumed dolls from all over the world, I thought it would be fun to occasionally share some of them with my reader and writer friends. These dolls are a huge love of mine, so much so that every house I move into I have to build a special cabinet home for them.
And sometimes when I need to relax, I grab a cup of chamomile, sit and study them and let my mind wander – a great way to dream up story ideas, by the way.
I’m not the average doll collector who collects all Barbies or all antique dolls. My dolls are from my world travels with a couple Barbies and antiques thrown in the mix because they happened to appeal to me. [I have the original ponytail Barbie from the 60s. I took good care of my dollies and she’s in excellent condition along with the box she came in and a little booklet of clothing that could be purchased.] A few doll have been gifts from people who know I collect them. And some I purchased from estate auctions.
I have to admit that some of my babies are darn right ugly but of course that’s what made them so appealing. Some are porcelain, made in a limited number and many are hand-made. I’m especially fond of the hand-made dolls. They are becoming a lost art.
Today I’m introducing you to one of my very favorite. He’s sort of a combination doll and figurine but his clothes are cloth so he made into my collection. He’s a Frenchman and I purchased him in Nice France. I think of him as Andre.
Andre is far from a romance hero type. One look at him and you’ll laugh. He’s . . . well he kind of looks like a drunk.
At the same time when you study him, Andre makes you feel like you’re in France watching some old guy sitting on a park bench enjoying his lunch of wine, French bread and a sausage.
Each of my dolls is cataloged and is given a country number along with a detailed description and even the price. They are also tagged with information. Here’s some of the information you’ll find on Andre. I go into detail and include the height of the doll and each description includes at least one picture sometimes more to give all views.
The doll’s store tag reads: “This Santon has been created by a provencal traditional family workshop [provencal is spelling used]. Clay made, it is the symbol of the “culture Santonnié d’Aubagne.”
The doll sits a real wood bench and in the stetting pose with his hat he is 7 ½ inches tall. He has an old man face with white hair mustache. His light brown jacket has dark brown cuffs and lapels and it made to look dirty and stained. Beneath the jacket is a dirty gray shirt, also made to seem dirty. He wears a red cummerbund and dark brown corduroy trousers with darker brown patches at the knees. His shoes are of clay and painted black and toes stick out from their split soles. Around his neck is a dark blue scarf with light blue dots on it. A brown felt messenger bag hangs over the bench. One arm rests over the back of the bench and the other hand rests in his lap while holding a clear plastic bottle with real liquid inside that looks like wine. On his lap is crumpled newspaper on which sets a half loaf of bread and a half-eaten piece of sausage.
If you’re a doll collector too, I hope you enjoyed meeting Andre. And if you’re not, I think you can at least understand why I enjoy my dolls so much. All my dolls have their own stories and characters, and as writers and readers we can all appreciate that!
If you’re interested in reading more about these type of dolls/figurines, here’s some links: