Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Art of Play: The Wellings Soft Monkey, 1930s

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Who doesn’t like a soft monkey? This plush toy was made and designed by Norah Wellings (Wellings cloth label remains on the tail). Wellings, in 1926, set up her own toy factory in Shropshire through which she famously produced her line of dolls. However, she also made other soft toys of velvet, such as this monkey, and teddy bears which were praised for their unusually life-like, charming, impish expressions.

This large monkey is constructed from velvet and mohair. Proudly wearing green trousers, the monkey’s brown velvet face registers intelligence, humor and dignity as tufts of grey hair frame his face on the other side. His red bow contrasts with the eight mother of pearl buttons sewn onto his torso. Black glass eyes twinkle from behind his painted facial features. In excellent condition, he dates to the 1930s.

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