Friday, September 27, 2013

The Art of Play: The Apple Peddlar, 1847

I can't imagine that this doll would have appealed to Queen Mary, but it did belong to her and she thought enough of it to donate it to the V&A. How Her Majesty came to own it is unknown. It doesn't really go with her other collections. I suppose we'll never know why she kept it or what its significance is. But, here it is nonetheless.

The head of this doll is made from an apple which has been carved and then preserved. A peeled apple is used. It is either tried or embalmed in a mixture of salt and lemon. Once dried, the apple is painted and given a wig before being mounted on a doll body. Because the apples get a leathery, wrinkled look, apple-headed dolls often portray grotesques and caricatures of the elderly such as this peddlar who is selling apples, presumably to make an army of doll cousins to join her in some odd, folksy quest for world domination.

Apple-headed dolls are still made, predominantly in Canada and the USA. This frightening little lady was, however, made in England.

No comments: