So…I bought a[nother] doll.
Before you ask: no, this is not about to turn into a doll collecting blog. (There’s no way I could afford such a lifestyle, much as it tempts me!) But after my American Girl nostalgia trip a few weeks ago, I wondered what indie alternatives to such commercialized dolls existed. Over the course of my research, I discovered A Girl for All Time, a U.K. company that creates detailed, sophisticated dolls and prizes historical accuracy. I fell in love with these dolls because of their sweet faces, which lack the sometimes-unnerving open mouths, blinking eyes, and bared teeth of their competitors.
I felt a little odd about investing in a doll as a twenty-something Supposed Adult, but I’ve come to think of it as a curatorial, art-collector-esque decision. Matilda, my Girl of All Time of choice, really is a work of art, and she certainly makes a good subject for outdoor photography here in Hawai’i.
(I’m also justifying a self-present of such a collector’s item by claiming that it’s my duty as a historian to review historically-mindful dolls. Obviously.)
I ordered Matilda on Amazon–in an ideal world, I’d prefer to support the company directly, except shipping a weighty doll-in-a-box was so much easier to do domestically!
She arrived protected in this beautifully decorated packaging.
The company’s logo and the general flourishes and ornamentation around the box are gorgeously designed. I’d probably wear a dress with a novelty print featuring those butterflies, pears, mirrors, and floral motifs.
Each Girl for All Time pays tribute to a memorable period of British history. Matilda, dressed in full Tudor garb, kicks off the series with velvet-and-pearl sixteenth-century opulence.
I didn’t keep her in the Tudor regalia forever, though, because I wanted to determine if she could wear the Stardust Classics clothes that belonged to my childhood dolls. Though Matilda is a 16″ doll and a bit thinner than the Stardust ladies, she fits their sleeveless dresses quite well. Because she has a slimmer vinyl body, she would probably be swimming in American Girl clothes.
I think her blue-grey eyes are lovely…
…especially when she’s dressed in a similar shade of blue and out exploring the forests of Volcano!
All in all, Matilda is one of the most beautiful dolls I’ve ever encountered, and I am smitten with A Girl For All Time’s mission. Their current line-up includes, in addition to Matilda, a Victorian girl, a Georgian young lady, a brave 1940s evacuee, a hip kid from the 60s and two contemporary dolls. Of course, if I had my way, I’d love to see a Regency-ish girl who loves literature and dreams of meeting her idol, Mary Shelley. Or an Edwardian doll who visits Belle Epoque Paris to hang out with Post-Impressionists.
In any case, this historian-and-doll-collector is very excited to see what A Girl for All Time does next!