Friday, 17 April 2009

"Believe to be beautiful"

I want to share one of my favourite things with you. I discovered "Harriet" at a Craft Market last Christmas. She was being made by Gillian and I promptly fell in love with her - (art-doll not Gillian!). I was with my daughter who immediately described the doll as weird. I didn't buy her then but she preyed on my mind for the whole of that week so the following Saturday I had to go and find Gillian at another event. The doll hadn't been sold and didn't have a name at that point. Gillian always builds stories around her doll creations and the one she had started to write for this doll put me in mind of my great, great, great-grandmother who grew up in the countryside not far away two hundred years ago. I decided to buy her and asked Gillian whether she would name her Harriet in my GGG grandmother's honour. She's beautifully made with a wonderful wistful expression and wide eyes. Her skirt has delicate wild flowers embroidered over it. I keep her sitting under a sampler stitched in 1829 by my GGG grandmother in 1829 aged 11. I've moved her to take a better photograph. Gillian has pictures some of her other dolls over on her blog.

I never played with dolls as a child (and actually never understood those who did)so I was amazed to find myself inextricably drawn to this one. Why, I can't say but she is absolutely one of the top 10 things I would take with me to a desert island. Ok, so its normally discs but this is my island so I get to choose! Does she fit in with William Morris's adage "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"? Well useful she's not but beautiful - definitely.


  1. Harriet looks perfect where you've photographed her - the colours blend beautifully - even if that's not her normal resting place.

    I popped over to her maker's blog - what a wonderfully creative person she is with a fascinating blog.

    Sue x

  2. Oh Wend thank you so much for this write up and for your comment on my blog. Harriet looks very much at home and it is wonderful to know that she is so cared for - I love the fact that her name and story are so interlinked with your own ancestry and history. The similarity in the colours between the dress and sampler is serendipity!

    What a great blog you have too! Now I can add you to my googlereader - take care

  3. aaacht I always end linking to the wrong blog -

  4. Oh she's really beautiful - in a fascinating haunting way - I love her!

    (was she cruely expensive?) (sos for asking)