Children of Japan

Children of Japan
Courtesy, R. John Wright

The Jumeau 201

The Jumeau 201
Courtesy Theriault's and Antique Doll Collector Magazine

Hinges and Hearts

Hinges and Hearts
An Exhibit of our Metal Dolls

Google+ Followers

Tuxedo and Bangles

Tuxedo and Bangles

A History of Metal Dolls

A History of Metal Dolls
Now on Alibris.com and In Print! The First Book of its Kind

Alice, Commemorative Edition

Alice, Commemorative Edition
Courtesy, R. John Wright

Translate

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory

Emma, aka, La Contessa Bathory
Her Grace wishes us all a Merry Christmas!

Annabelle

Annabelle

Emma Emmeline

Emma Emmeline
Our New Addition/fond of stuffed toys

Cloth Clown

Cloth Clown

Native American Art

Native American Art

the triplets

the triplets

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby

c. 1969 Greek Plastic Mini Baby
Bought Athens on the street

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Iron Maiden; Middle Ages

Sand Baby Swirls!

Sand Baby Swirls!
By Glenda Rolle, courtesy, the Artist

Glenda's Logo

Glenda's Logo
Also, a link to her site

Sand Baby Castaway

Sand Baby Castaway
By Glenda Rolle, Courtesy the Artist

A French Friend

A French Friend

Mickey

Mickey
From our friends at The Fennimore Museum

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll

2000+ year old Roman Rag Doll
British Museum, Child's Tomb

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll

Ancient Egypt Paddle Doll
Among first "Toys?"

ushabti

ushabti
Egyptian Tomb Doll 18th Dynasty

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Ann Parker Doll of Anne Boleyn

Popular Posts

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase

Tin Head Brother and Sister, a Recent Purchase
Courtesy, Antique Daughter

Judge Peep

Judge Peep

Hakata Doll Artist at Work

Hakata Doll Artist at Work
From the Museum Collection

Follow by Email

Japanese Costume Barbies

Japanese Costume Barbies
Samurai Ken

Etienne

Etienne
A Little Girl

Happy Heart Day

Happy Heart Day

From "Dolls"

From "Dolls"
A Favorite Doll Book

Popular Posts

Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren
Ultimate Doll Restorer

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Our Friends at The Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum

Baby Boo 1960s

Baby Boo 1960s
Reclaimed and Restored as a childhood Sabrina the Witch with Meow Meow

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dr. E's on Display with sign

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum

Dolls Restored ad New to the Museum
L to R: K*R /celluloid head, all bisque Artist Googly, 14 in. vinyl inuit sixties, early celluloid Skookum type.

Two More Rescued Dolls

Two More Rescued Dolls
Late Sixties Vinyl: L to R: Probably Horseman, all vinyl, jointed. New wig. R: Effanbee, probably Muffy, mid sixties. New wig and new clothing on both. About 12 inches high.

Restored Italian Baby Doll

Restored Italian Baby Doll
One of Dr. E's Rescued Residents

Dolls on Display

Dolls on Display
L to R: Nutcrackers, Danish Troll, HItty and her book, Patent Washable, Mechanical Minstrel, Creche figure, M. Alexander Swiss. Center is a German mechanical bear on the piano. Background is a bisque German costume doll.

A Few Friends

A Few Friends
These dolls are Old German and Nutcrackers from Dr. E's Museum. They are on loan to another local museum for the holidays.

Vintage Collage

Vintage Collage
Public Domain Art

The Merry Wanderer

The Merry Wanderer
Courtesy R. John Wright, The Hummel Collection

The Fennimore Doll Museum

The Fennimore Doll Museum

Robert

Robert
A Haunted Doll with a Story

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

Halloween Dolls Displayed in a Local Library

The Cody Jumeau

The Cody Jumeau
Long-faced or Jumeau Triste

German Princesses

German Princesses
GAHC 2005

A Little PowerRanger

A Little PowerRanger
Halloween 2004

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls
Shrine to Dolls in Mexico

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death

Based on the Nutshell Series of Death
Doll House murder

Popular Posts

Total Pageviews

A lovely dress

A lovely dress

Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann
A few friends in cloth!

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI

Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum, WI
Pixar Animator's Collection

Little PM sisters

Little PM sisters
Recent eBay finds

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Dressed Mexican Fleas

Really old Dolls!

Really old Dolls!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It began with a Teacup; one Museum's Origins

It began with a tea cup. Or, as Els Van Houtven of De Kleine Wereld Museum relates, "One day in 1976 we went antique shopping in Antwerp and we returned home with one small doll's cabinet with 3 drawers, painted salmon pink and missing one leg, and two pieces of a tea set that did not even belong together."



So began a 36 year quest for antique playthings of little girls. The collection eventually filled the large Liers, Belgian home of Lena de Swert, the mother of Els Van Houten, and led to the fulfillment of the mother and daughter dream, to create a museum for all to enjoy. A beautiful building in the historic Belgium village was chosen for De Kleine Wereld Museum and the dolls, doll furniture and doll houses were presented in breath-taking settings that earned the museum a reputation as one of the world's most beautiful doll and dollhouse museums.

Sadly, the museum will close, but happily for collectors the entire museum collection will be exhibited one last time when it is presented at auction by Theriault's on April 1, 2012 in San Francisco, California.



Els Van Houten tells of the collecting years with her mother. "Our collection took the two of us all over Europe for the next 36 years. We met fantastic people along the road, found ourselves many times in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Europe, to achieve this one more piece, shared the thrilling excitement of chasing an item at an auction, we shared doubts, disappointments, hilarious situations, but most of all the pleasure of searching, finding, installing and cherishing our growing collection. And a kind of sixth sense – without words we loved the same items, in an auction catalogue we always marked identical objects. A small fish bowl! A miniature frame with butterflies! Even more, we both knew exactly where it would fit."



As the collection grew, so did discrimination and a sense of what was rare and special. The mis-matched tea cup and broken chest were discarded along with most of the pieces acquired during the first ten years. "Our main strategy was to buy always the very best with the budget we had available at the moment...it could happen that we returned from a fair with just a small, mint umbrella."

Along the way, mother and daughter had discovered the world of French fashion dolls, and it is no small coincidence that the a major doll from De Kleine Wereld museum is an early porcelain Denis-Duval poupee with complete original trousseau, and remarkably, a hand-written inventory of every item of clothing in the trousseau. (In June 2009 an article about the doll and her trousseau appeared in Antique Doll Collector).

Other poupees, always in original or antique costumes, formed highlights in the museum collection. Examples by Jumeau and Gaultier are delightful, and especially notable is a Jumeau poupee in her original Russian silk aristocracy costume. But the poupees were never in isolation. "What we also liked was to create a world on its own: interiors, scenes, all had to fit together in color and age and style and scale." A French lady doll poses in her salon, alongside superb maitrise furnishings and accessories, while in the child's room, the nanny hovers lovingly over the little bisque children playing with tiny toys and pets. Antique costumes are laid on the fine canopy bed in the boudoir, while a poupee looks on, choosing her gown for the evening's gala. Crystal chandeliers dangle, fine miniature blown glass is set on the table, along with porcelain dinnerware and cutlery. A grandfather's clock chimes nearly, and salon dogs hopefully keep one eye on the well-laden pastry dish.



All of these beautiful dolls, and the objects from the world that they inhabited, are to be presented in the auction of the De Kleine Wereld Museum. The furniture, mostly scaled for exhibition with 14"-20" poupees, is of maitrise quality, and includes superb examples for each doll's environment. Florence Theriault, who traveled to Belgium, for the farewell fete of the Museum and to oversee its packing, notes that the poupee furniture and accessories are among the finest she has seen in decades.

Although a keen sense of history and a desire for research have ensured that most of the pieces are well documented, Els Van Houtven notes wistfully, "We have no clue about the true history of every single piece we have. Why has it survived more than 100 years, as so many other objects haven't? Was it owned, loved, cherished once by a little girl? Most probably she is not alive anymore. How many times was it turned into other hands? How many years did it spend on a dusty attic before that...?"

In addition, the Museum has exhibited fine automata including the rare Lambert deposed model of a child playing with dolls, the Chinese tea server, the early and beautiful gliding lady by Vichy, the crying child with broken doll by Lambert with signature character bisque head by Jumeau, and a young lady pushing a carriage with all-bisque child.

Furniture on a larger scale, perfect for display with dolls 24"-30", is also exhibited. Of particular note is a remarkable kitchen cupboard that is lavishly fitted (originally) with all the necessary utensils and tools of a well-kept German kitchen of the late 19th century. Standing 50" tall, it displays fine porcelain ware with blue designs as well as dozens of accessories, and centered on its counter top is a fine Maerklin stove.



On a smaller scale is the outstanding collection of miniature stores, kitchens, doll rooms, and doll houses, each filled to the brim with rare miniatures and accessories. Of particular note are three fine millinery shops; one example features a French window label on the exterior, while the interior is filled with wonderful fabrics, trims, laces, and more. Two very unusual shops include the German shoe store, whose shelves are filled with dozens of tiny filled shoe boxes, and the lederwaren or leather store, which offers valises, purses, belt, and other leather ware. There are apothecaries, grocery stores, an outstanding butcher's shop, mouth-watering pastry stores, and an exceptional toy store whose laden shelves are filled with tiny childhood wishes. Of great rarity is the Chinese tea store with lacquered cabinets and shelving, filled with miniature tin tea decanters. Each of the miniature stores and rooms is in its original state of preservation, and includes examples by Christian Hacker, Gottschalk, and other notable firms.



And about that tiny tea cup that started it all. The mother-daughter collecting team never lost their love for miniature tea services, so it is no surprise that more than 40 rare miniature tea sets have been featured in a special Museum gallery, and are to be included in the auction.

The De Kleine Werelde auction features more than 350 lots, with literally thousands and thousands of objects, as each room and house is filled to over-brimming with rare treasures, and many dolls are sold with an accompanying doll or with an accessory or furnishing especially chosen for it.

In reflecting on her collecting years, Els Van Houtven looks first at one treasure and then another, and notes "This is so nice about collecting: it is hard to say if you find a piece, or if the piece finds you. Mostly it is love at first sight. You find something you were not even looking for, however all of a sudden it becomes simply essential, and very often we felt a piece had just ‘come home' when we added it to our collection."



The De Kleine Wereld Museum auction is part of an extravaganza weekend of auctions and doll events planned by Theriault's for March 30, 31, and April 1 at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco Market Square. The weekend begins on Friday March 30 with a free one-day seminar to be conducted by Florence Theriault, featuring hands-on workshops into "the environment of the antique doll". On Saturday, a superb auction of antique dolls, entitled "The Well-Bred Doll", includes treasures ranging from an exquisite Huret poupee to a 38" A.T. bebe by Thuillier to rare automata. The auction of De Kleine Wereld Museum takes place on Sunday, April 1. Catalogs are available for each of the auctions, and absentee and live online bidding are available if your attendance is not possible. For more information, to pre-register for the seminar, or to order catalogs call 410-224-3655 or email info@theriaults.com.

Els Van Houtven, her mother and her two daughters will be present at De Kleines Wereld museum auction, available to sign the commemorative auction catalog of the museum collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment