Red Boy, Yellow Boy?

I have just had an email from Denise in America. Thank you Denise. She suggests I may have made a ‘mistake’ in one of my captions.

This is in the last post about the mass produced figures of children.

Red Boy, Yellow Girl. English c. 1700 Private Collection

And so I’ve added another photograph of another pair of small early figures for you to look at.

Yes it does seem odd doesn’t it? They both look like girls!

In fact the figure on the left is a boy and is a brother for the one illustrated in the last post, A Bit on the Side.

It was standard practice in the past, up to the early 20th century in fact, to dress small boys in skirts until they were about 6 years of age. Many of the earlier figures wear skirts.There is a beautiful dummy board of a young man of about 1630 in the Victoria and Albert Museum store who most definitely might be mistaken for a girl. But no, he is most certainly a boy. Here is a picture of him at the V&A website.

The Victoria and Albert boy with arrow

When I first started on the road to my discovery of The Dummy Board, I had no idea how many avenues I would have to explore. I had guessed that I might have to do a lot of research into costume, maybe look at a lot of early portrait oils, become familiar with a few texts about how people lived then. Little did I know how many subjects I would really have to have an insight into- albeit a surface gloss.

Many years later, many books, emails, articles, conversations with ‘experts’, visits to museums, country houses, antique shops and private homes later…….. I have ranged over an amazing number of disciplines; from 17th century social history to superstitions; the scientific make up of old paint to the old painters themselves; from lace to languages, from military uniforms to masquerades, from wood to wars, diaries to dining -and cartoons to – yes costume.

A fascinating journey it has been. There is still much more to learn I’m sure. The study of the dummy board is an open ended subject. I hope you are enjoying the trip!

And speaking of trips…I am off to the Thame Dollshouse Fair tomorrow, so the blog will be quiet for a couple of days.

Next…..? Let’s tackle a lion- or two!

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