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Back in the saddle!

Marie Antoinette under way

Well, Christmas and New Year are past and Australia Day (my celebration) and Burns Night (my Scottish husband’s celebration) too. We even managed to find a haggis - they are pretty rare in Australia but David managed to hunt one down amongst the wilds of a local butcher's shop and I served up a traditional haggis, neeps and tatties to the accompaniment of bagpipes and some Burns' poetry that David remembered. Lots of fun!

I am also very pleased to be able to report that I am recovering faster from my accident than I had anticipated and I’m back at work in my studio = witness the photo of Marie Antoinette above - and no, the pins are not vestiges of a voodoo ceremony but classic work in progress :) The immediate task is to complete her for a patient collector in Florida (thank you, Donna).

It’s frustrating, but how many times does it happen? I had her pretty much ready to go when I had my fall before Christmas so, as I got down to the finishing touches, I was expecting to spend no more than a day and then on to other things. However, when I removed her travelling cloak I just didn’t feel comfortable with the face and after tussling with it, decided I had to do better. So, off with her head and on with the task of forming a new face that I felt did justice to the lady.

This involves creating the basic shape of the head appropriate for the size of the doll, working it to create a nose and chin then painting the features. It is a laborious process and usually is only finished after rejecting two or three attempts. This time, it has taken me many more to get it past Quality Control (my husband) intact. I am now finishing the wig and reconstructing the figure before fine tuning the gown, shoes, jewellery etc. Then I will photograph her, confirm all Ok with Donna and pack and ship next week.

Mary, Queen of Scots

The next task will be to finish Louis XIV and to get on with an order for Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary is at a very early stage (as you can see here), but at least she is under way and , as they say, a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step...

New Projects

I talked about introducing medieval queens to the collection last year but events overtook me and that’s as far as it got. My two project dolls were Margaret of Denmark and Joan Beaufort.

Margaret was born in Denmark to King Christian I and Queen Dorothea of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In 1468 she was betrothed to the Prince James of Scotland to stop a feud regarding debt owed to Denmark relating to the taxation of the Hebrides and the Isle of Man.

At the age of 13, in July 1469 she married James III at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh and upon their marriage all of the Scottish debt was cancelled.

Joan Beaufort was a daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, a legitimised son of John of Gaunt.

King James I of Scotland met Joan during his time as a prisoner in England, and knew her from at least 1420. She is said to have been the inspiration for King James's famous long poem, The King's Quair, written during his captivity, after he saw her from his window in the garden.

On 12 February 1424, Joan Beaufort and King James were wed at St. Mary Overie Church in Southwark, London. They were feasted at Winchester Palace that year by her uncle, Cardinal Henry Beaufort.

She accompanied her husband on his return from captivity in England to Scotland, and was crowned alongside him at Scone Abbey, near Perth. She gave birth to eight children, including the future James II and Margaret of Scotland, future spouse of Louis XI of France.

I hope to find time to introduce them to the site this year.

Finally, here’s a photo of Robbie, looking suitably remorseful, the cause of my pre-Christmas fall.

As you can see, it’s impossible to be angry with the pup - although he is growing fast and - at 6 months - is already taller than our 5 year old Sheltie, Freddie. I just take more care when I walk these days!

As always, your ideas and thoughts are very welcome.

Stay safe, stay well.

All the very best

Victoria Lady Finavon


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