Friday, February 10, 2012

Collecting Part 2

Frozen Charlotte collector, Teresa has a passion for the working with and collecting vintage. Her etsy shop is a treasure trove of goodies called GloryBDesign  

Frozen Charlotte is a name used to describe a type of china doll (cast in one piece) made between 1850 and 1920. It is usually made in the form of a standing, naked figure says Wikipaedia. The name comes from the rather unsettling folk story of a little girl called Charlotte. Here is her story:

Tell us about your background, why you collect and how it got started

I'm Teresa and I live on three acres of woods with my sweet husband, Matt and our three kitties (KiKi, Bunny & Moustache). Other than these kitties that have adopted us, we are "empty nesters". Although, since Matt and I are both completely sentimental, our nest is well feathered with all the things we love to collect! Matt is classic car lover and collects '57 Chevy's, and most recently our 1941 Flxible Clipper bus. He's still working to convince me it will our "traveling retirement condo", but I have to admit, it is pretty awesome! And after another 15 years or so of conversion work, it should be fantastic!

I tend to collect much smaller things - vintage mixing bowls and pitchers, stamps, and my favorite - Frozen Charlottes! Frozen Charlottes (or Charlies, as they are known if they're boys) are small bisque dolls from the 1920's and 30's. They range in height from 1" to 6" or so. They're known as Frozen Charlottes because they do not have any moving parts - they're like miniature figurines. Their arms and legs are molded, without joints. The name comes from a legend that a Victorian girl named Charlotte was invited to go to a party with her handsome beau. The weather was frightfully cold, but Charlotte didn't want to wear a coat because it would hide her beautiful party dress. Alas, poor Charlotte froze to death during the sleigh ride to the party!

I've always had a thing for miniatures. I first discovered the little charmers when I came across one at an estate sale. I was drawn to it because it bore a striking resemblance to a photo I had seen of my mother when she was a little girl. I showed her to my friend, who's an avid doll collector, and she told me what she was. The idea that these are the types of dolls my mom likely played with when she was small, made Charlottes even more attractive to me - did I mention that I'm completely sentimental? All the Charlottes and Charlies have the sweetest little faces, and I have a hard time resisting buying any one that I happen upon!

What is the holy grail of your collection? That is, what is it you are keen to get your hands on that you don't have?

I currently have 76 in my collection. I've been lucky enough to find a couple of sets in their original packaging. One set was sold as "All Nations Dolls" and they feature a girl and boy in their native clothing - A Spanish matador and a senorita, a Native American boy and girl, a Dutch boy and girl, and an Asian boy and girl. I also have two sets of the larger dolls that were originally wedding cake toppers - there's a groom in his tuxedo and his bride. Almost every doll is holding something - a puppy, a hat, a school book, a toy boat.


The most unusual Charlotte I have, has a child's body and a cat's head. I've never seen another like it. I'm always on the lookout for ones that I don't have. I missed an opportunity to purchase a Charlie holding an envelope with a red heart on the seal. I really wanted that one because my dad is a retired mailman, and if I ever find it again, you can bet, I'll be willing to pay up to get it (it's that sentimental thing, again!)

I've given a few away as gifts to dear friends. The rest I have all together on a vintage wall shelf. They always draw comments when folks see them. Most aren't familiar with Charlottes and are amazed at the detail and the absolute cute
ness of the little darlings. The idea of giving small children items made of bisque to play with seems pretty amazing! But it was common practice in the Victorian era and into the early part of the 20th Century.

What are the best and worst aspects?

To me, the only bad part about being a collector is finding space to display your collection without your home starting to look a mess! I don't like to collect things that have to be packed away! To me, the whole point is to be able to admire my collection and share it with others. At least with the Charlottes, they don't take up a lot of space! I think I can squeeze another 30 or so on my vintage shelf!

Do you collect something? Why not share it with us? I would love to hear from you.

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