Monday, 18 February 2013

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside............

..............and that's exactly where I was this weekend!  The sun came out on Saturday and not wanting to miss this rare occurrence and inspired by the photos of my Roldan dolls in the snow, Mark and I decided to head to the beach to take some more more photos of some more dolls!  I have had these dolls for a long time but didn't know what they were or who they were made by.  They look like Roldan dolls but aren't so that was where the trail ended, I put them away and kind of forgot about them.  Then one day I came across a doll that had very similar characteristics as mine and found out that they were made by a company called Larrea in the 1960s.  They are France's answer to the Spanish Roldan or Klumpe doll.  They aren't quite as detailed as the Roldan's but they are noted for their distinctive features such as their tear drop eyes and lips.  I only have a few and as they have often lost their tags and not as well known as the Roldan dolls, they are hard to find.

I thought that they deserved a photoshoot too and they fitted perfectly with the Brighton beach vibe.  So off we went and spent a lovely day in the sunshine taking photos of these funny dolls!  Hope you like the outcome.

These ballet dancers were taken on the bandstand.  I had wanted to contact the Theatre Royal and see if they would let us take photos on the stage but I was told by Mark that not only was it highly unlikely that they'd let us but how unimpressed would they be when we turn up for our 'photoshoot' with a pair of dolls and an iphone!  I got his point and actually prefer the bandstand as a backdrop (well I didn't have much choice did I?!)

Next is one of my favourites and she's a bit saucy.  Her top is normally half open but in the interests of decency I covered her up.  Only the French would come up with a half naked doll!

These photos were taken further along the promenade near the smoke house and fishing museum which I had never been in until Saturday.

We then went down to Hove to the beach huts to take photos of this little cutie

She looks so at home in front of the beach huts and suits her surroundings brilliantly.  The colours really pop and I am so pleased at how these photos turned out.  I had a vision and I think it worked!

Next saw us at my favourite shop Three Angels to take photos of my final Larrea dolls  I had always felt they had a Parisian air about them even before I knew the were made in France so I thought the French style surroundings of the Three Angels cafe would suit them perfectly.

 I love their outfits and the fact that they have cigarettes, so French and so of the time.

 As well as my Larrea dolls, I took some other curiosities along to photograph as well.  I have never seen anything like them.

They look very similar to the Larrea dolls but look closely and you can see that they don't have legs and there is a silver button type thing.  That's because underneath the cloth is a plastic bottle that you would fill with perfume.  They are perfume atomisers!  Again I think they must be French.

For our final photos of the day we thought we'd try and include the iconic West Pier and my next dolls fitted in perfectly with their surroundings.  They are cloth dolls made into the characters from the artist Brownie Downing illustrations.

Her most successful subject was Aboriginal Australia and she delighted both children and adults with her ability to capture the simple, naive beauty and innocence of children and wildlife.  Her illustrations and watercolours are beautiful and you can find prints quite easily.  She also illustrated children's books and porcelain items.  A search on eBay will probably come up with a few but these dolls are very rare.  I found the lighter haired doll at the same time as my perfume atomisers at Detling antiques fair and luckily the dealer was able to tell me who she thought it was based on.  I then did a bit of research and came across the other 2 on eBay.  I think they are wonderful and so full of character.  I love the boomerang and kangeroo especially.

So there you have it, more dolls!  I think they are great display pieces and whilst they aren't everyone's cup of tea, you can't deny how full of character they are and what great photographic models they make!


  1. Bravo, bravo. Fi, all of your dolls are fabulous and i love to see them out and about, I wonder where they will go next?
    Jean x

    1. Funny you should ask that Jean because I was thinking that maybe they need to travel further a field to..... and this is just off the top of my head..... maybe Bora Bora, Mauritius, Maldives. I think they'd like it there ;) xx

  2. Oh yes, but they would need a chaperone my dear. You would NEED to go with.
    Jean x

  3. Love the Larrea dolls. If you hadn't said where you shot the photos I would have assumed that you had made the backgrounds for them; they are so right!

  4. These dolls are amazing. I have never seen any or heard of them before. I love the settings you have chosen for them too.
    M x

  5. Thank you Being knitterly and Vintage Jane! Glad you like them, they had been hiding in a drawer and I decided that they needed to come out and play! Very easy models to work with ;)xx

  6. Hi Fi, I have nominated you for my Liebster Award because I love your blog. Please pop over to my site to see the details,
    Jean x