Sunday, 4 March 2012

Thinking out loud - a plea for historical accuracy and a warning to hold on to your purse strings.

Somewhere in these ramblings I mentioned that I am spending January through March just 'finding out' stuff ('research' sounds a bit glorified) as I have taken all my kit back to the UK.  Admittedly this hasn't stopped me buying things though and, when a couple more orders come through, I intend to gather them up to show you.

I also said early on that I need a sort of narrative behind the project or else I wander off in too many directions and buy loads of stuff which I later have to sell on for a pittance.  Lesson learned.  So, I decided I must stop collecting all and sundry for the shop without having any firm idea of what would go where and what the shop should look like.  I want all the rooms to be harmonious to some degree and have learned that the decorating style for this period was described as 'greenery/yallery'.  This should be the feel of each room.  Mmmmm, already I have wallpaper and carpets not fitting that outline.

Then I began to think about the details in the Salon and fitting room which, so far,  has passed through elegant 18th century French château, all the way to Rennie Mackintosh (seriously!).  I suppose it really should be sort of William Morris (in line with the rest of the rooms) but that leaves me with a particularly dainty pair of white, floral decorated Bespaq chairs bought at a bargain price, but still costly. See what I mean.  I can now either sell them at a (most likely) loss or remodel them which adds more cost to their original price and is pretty criminal really. 

Right now I am determined to hold on to everything for as long as my throw away nature will allow as I have already sold on at least a dozen bits and bobs I could be using on this project such as a lovely expensive washbasin, spot on in period fireplace, three great dolls etc etc.  These were bought while I was doing the Wentworth and thinking about an Edwardian shop as a second project.  I then decided I couldn't afford to do two and, any way, where would it go.... and here I am .... Le Tout Paris.  (I even have a third project mentally stewing!)

My current buying frenzy, even as I type, has extended to bidding on a (naked) Heidi Ott doll - why?  I have no idea, other than she looked lovely and I had a mad idea that I would be able to dress her beautifully.  Had this come to fruition I would have been fifty plus dollars lighter, a naked doll in hand demanding to be 'dressed beautifully' and two, already purchased, resin figure surplus to requirements.  Luckily my i-Pad pinged a couple of seconds ago to tell me I had been outbid.  There is a 1/12th God!

At this moment I have a bid in for a nice pair of binoculars because I like them and they are a bargain!  (my downfall)  They now need a story to account for their presence in a small town ladies shop. I decided (like the pewter tankard I bought!) they would be another of Albert's things which Ellen had hung on to.  My husband told me they were prism binoculars and maybe I should check if they existed then.  Phew!  I found several references and pictures of prism binoculars being used in the Boer war.  It seems the army issue were lightweight fold up types which was all very sensible except the enemy were using much better prism binoculars. (4)

Albert had taken his own with him as they had been his birthday gift from Ellen shortly before he left. So there you are, if you want something badly enough you can wheedle it in somehow as long as it pre-dates your chosen moment in time.

Another purchase has firmly fixed my 'moment in time' for my shop as October 1911.  

The year had already been decided because the dress I was going to make for the window display is part of Hazel Dowd's tutorial.  I dated the dress to 1911.  The actual month of October has been arrived at because I have a calender (on the way) which shows that particular month and year.  In a way buying something even as insignificant as this has sort of scuppered me.  I had visualised all the displays and stock being, pretty much, sugared almond sort of shades.  This went beautifully with the original French creamy château look I had planned.  Clearly this wouldn't be right for an Autumn display.  

I was now compelled to abandon pastels and spend a lot of time trawling libraries and googling in an attempt to determine what colours were being worn in France in October 1911.  There really didn't seem to be anything definitive.  I then came across a cover of a November (American) Vogue.  I am hoping even in those days you got your next month's magazine in advance as we do now.  Luckily Ellen has friends who like to travel and she always has access to such goodies as this. 

She loved(es!) Art Nouveau from her time in France and the peacock was an iconic bird for that movement.  Her October displays are all peacock colours and the person she is copying in design right now is Paul Poiret. He was causing all sorts of sensations in the fashion world in 1911 with his harem pants and the first photography fashion  shoot in April's Art et Decoration.  (3)  (bit of plagiarism here from Vogue?)  I am sure I will be writing screeds more in the narrative (link at the top of the Blog) should you be interested in the inner working of my imagination.  All of this chatter has been to serve two purposes....

If you aren't made of money you really need to have a plan..... and do your best to stick to it.  It is the only way not to waste money on things you won't ever use.

The second finger wagging about historical accuracy is probably a bit pointless.  If you aren't interested in who did what, when and why and you simply want to collect and display things you like in your dolls house then it is irrelevant and if you are concerned about 'getting it right', then you know this already. I just thought my thinking out loud about these things might help someone who hasn't actually considered which way they might want to go.  For me, a huge part of the pleasure I am getting from this hobby is all the peripheral stuff I am learning along the way.

(Just a reminder... the red numbers refer to the reference page, link at the top of the Blog)

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