Full Steam Ahead!
So, after thinking about it, I finally took the plunge and made the first medieval fabric doll for my site, Margaret of Denmark - the Queen of James III of Scotland. You can see her now.
In July 1469, at the age of 13 she married James at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh - a marriage with clear political overtones.
She was known for always being dressed in the latest fashions of the time and she became a popular queen, described as beautiful, gentle, and sensible. Then, 13 years later, In 1482, when James III was deprived of power by his brother for several months, Margaret was said to have shown more interest in the welfare of her children than her spouse, and this led to a permanent estrangement. She died at Stirling castle in 1486 after falling ill, and was buried in the nearby Cambuskenneth Abbey. James was also interred with her in 1488.
I find that understanding the life and times of each of my character dolls imbues a personality to the creation and Margaret was no different. I really struggled to make her face, discarding more than half a dozen attempts before I felt I had captured her. She is now on her way to her new owner in Holland to join other members of the Lady of Finavon doll family. I know she's off to a good home.
I am now busy packing Catherine of Aragon - she is off to a new home in Florida - also joining up with other Lady of Finavon dolls so she won't be lonely! Once that's done, it's time to ready my fabric Louis XIV for a journey to his new home.
This is one of the very few dolls that I have made that required the help of another artist, this time a Parisian jeweller. On many portraits of French kings and princes you will see a pale blue sash, part of the Order of the Holy Spirit. This Order (sometimes translated into English as the Order of the Holy Ghost) is a French order of chivalry founded by Henry III in 1578.
The King was the Sovereign and Grand Master and he made all appointments to the order which were limited to 8 Ecclesiastic members, 4 Officers and 100 Knights. (Due to the blue riband from which the Cross of the Holy Spirit was hung, the knights became known as Les Cordons Bleus and over time, this expression began to refer to other distinctions of the highest class – such as Cordon Blue cooking and Blue Riband sporting events).
The Order remained the highest order of the French monarchy (with an interruption during the Revolution and in Napoleonic times) until abolished in 1830.
I felt that, while I could make an imitation, it was too significant a piece to work at half-heartedly so I commissioned the jeweller to make several miniature copies and on each Louis doll I make now, this miniature is affixed.
I'm also planning to make a Queen Victoria fabric doll to put on the site so I'm keeping busy!
COVID has not disappeared and I know has impacted my customers although fortunately it has so far passed us by. It may also have contributed to a problem I have with another native of China who ordered a porcelain Queen Elizabeth I and provided a deposit before flying out to China. It's been almost a year and I've not been able to reach her so I'm hoping that she is alright. I'm keeping her doll under wraps and wish her the best, whatever is happening.
I don't have all my porcelain dolls on the site but once I've organised up to date photos I will be adding one of my husband's favourites, Lord Henry Darnley (the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots), Louis XV of France, Louis XVI of France and Jennie Churchill. There are a couple of others that I will probably introduce in time. My husband tells me that he likes the Darnley doll, but not the man, who was by historical accounts a vain, weak, dissolute individual!
I need to get on so I must finish and I can't do that without wishing my fellow Australians well who have suffered from flooding after unusually heavy rain in Queensland and New South Wales this year to the south of us and making a comment on the awful situation in Ukraine, which fills my thoughts these days. We have a yellow and blue Ukrainian scarf flying at home (my husband swapped it for his Scotland scarf when he was in Ukraine a few years ago for a football match) to show our support and have helped out financially, but the parallels with the outbreak of WWII are hard to ignore. I pray that Putin's war ends soon and that this barbaric aggression is halted.
I wish you all well.
Lady of Finavon Historic Costume Dolls