Monday, October 26, 2009

Izannah Walker Doll at the Carmel Doll Shop

This beautiful Izannah Walker doll is presently available at the Carmel Doll Shop. I emailed asking to post the pictures, and the owners, Michael Canadas and David Robinson, graciously gave permission to post the pictures here on the Izannah Walker Chronicles. Enjoy, and be sure to visit the Carmel Doll Shop for other beautiful wonders.

Those of you who are dollmakers will
want to see the classic Izannah torso shape.

Her dress is a wonder as well!

Who wouldn't want to own such a wonderful doll?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Izannah's Own Hand - A Letter to Her Sister

Dear Dixie,

As we have discussed, I am in the process of writing a piece for the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Spring 2010 publication of New England Ancestors. The article focuses on our ancestor, Captain David Walker, and the discovery of one of his whaling ships, Candace, unearthed in San Francisco’s financial district in 2006. When I began to research David’s brothers and sisters, I came across another amazing find…Izannah’s beautiful dolls!

The first time I pulled up your website and saw pictures of her dolls, I had chills. It was like looking into my own son’s eyes. There is a uniquely handsome shape to the eyes with one eye that seems to look ever-so-slightly off to the side. I had traced the characteristic back through old pictures to the Walker side of our family when he was just a baby. For me, part of the allure of the dolls and their simple innocence is the way Izannah painted the eyes. I can only wonder if some of the Walker nieces and nephews were models for her dolls.

In support of your goal of providing a central repository of information about Izannah and her dolls I am providing a scan of a letter written by Izannah that has been passed down in our family. Included are two examples of her signature. The letter was written in 1850 to her half sister Bridget addressing arrangements between the two regarding a family plot at Palmer Street Cemetery in Somerset, Massachusetts. The intention of sharing the letter is not to focus on the details of her parent’s burial, but to point out that although she was an orphan, she was close to her many half brothers and sisters, visiting and communicating with them even 25 years after her parent’s death. She was not alone, Izannah was one of the nine surviving children of Gilbert Walker.

Thank you for building such a wonderful website honoring Izannah’s dolls, and for loving her work. Thank you to all of your readers who have generously contributed and shared information and images in an effort to build a comprehensive catalog of her work. I look forward to checking in to admire new pictures of dolls as they become available.

Jennifer Raymond
Cohasset, Massachusetts
Jennifer's email contact

Click on images to enlarge

Dixie here: I am thrilled that Jennifer chose to share these wonderful documents here. Jennifer and I have talked by phone quite a few times, she is passionate about researching and understands the intent of this site. Through what Jennifer has offered, one gets a sense of the way Izannah's mind worked in the sketches and handwriting in the letter. I added the copyrights onto the images that Jennifer sent - the intent is for them to be available here, but not to be republished without Jennifer's permission. Thank you, Jennifer!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Richard Wright Collection: Rare and Important Dolls

On Saturday, October 10th Richard Wright's collection of rare and important dolls was auctioned by the Skinner auction house. When I heard that three Izannah dolls were going to be auctioned, I decided to drive the 5 hours from Bangor, Maine to Marlborough, Massachusetts to see the dolls in person.

From the outside the Skinner Auction building looks
unassuming, but oh the treasures that were inside!

Inside there was a sense of camaraderie as people who had known Richard Wright reconnected with one another and viewed the spectacular collection he had crafted. Andy Ourant, consulting specialist and auctioner, commented that the friends and acquaintances of Richard Wright were privileged to gather to compete for something from Richard Wright's collection. There were so many wonderful things in this collection. But since this is a blog about Izannah Walker dolls, we will focus on those.

When the bidding was opened for the first Izannah doll above you could feel some excitement in the air. The doll was small - 14 inches - and was wearing a dress that was described as a "cotton dress with frail silk blue and white check trim." One theory is that the dress would have originally been all silk blue checked trim, and that the white was the lining of the dress. Bidding went along at a fast clip until it ended at $11,000, within the estimate printed in the auction catalog. As the gavel came down, a cheer went up. It was clear that many of the people were rooting for the prevailing bidder to win that Izannah doll!

The doll above is a classic Izannah Walker doll with two side curls in front of the ears.This doll was won by the same bidder as the doll above with a final bid of $10,000 - the auction estimate range being $15,000 - $18,000.

Finally, the "Lady" Izannah Walker Doll was auctioned.

Now these dolls go on to their new loving homes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Image Copyrights on the Izannah Walker Chronicles

The purpose of this site is to be a kind of public service for those who enjoy and love to study Izannah Walker dolls. A conversation I had with someone brought up an interesting point about the images on this site. Previously the copyright notice stated that images and writings were copyrighted by me. I hadn't thought through the implication of that, just thought it was a way to publicly say, "Hey, don't take the images here and publish them somewhere else!" But someone pointed out it was like saying that if they give images to the site that I own them, which wasn't my intention.
The new copyright notice is:

"All photos/pictures presented on this site are copyrighted by those offering the images for posting and are not to be taken. All writings are copyright Dixie Redmond unless specified otherwise."
Copyright of photos taken by others who offer them here for posting is retained by those individuals, business or institutions.

For the pictures that I personally have taken, I give permission for individuals to print images for personal study in making Izannah inspired dolls. These images are found in the sidebar under the heading "Pictures of Original Izannah Walker Dolls taken by Dixie Redmond." I do not give permission for pictures taken by me to be printed in any other form, electronically or in print. If you want to use an image, please ask. I usually like to share.

It's my hope that this clarifies what happens when collectors and others offer pictures to be posted here that they have taken of original Izannah Walker dolls.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Richard Wright Collection: Rare and Important Dolls

I am going to be able to attend this auction at Skinner's Marlborough gallery and am looking forward to it! This auction catalog with a cup of tea is the perfect way to spend a rainy day. This collection is quite varied, ranging from the rare to what to some might consider mundane. But it all looks wonderful to me. I plan on attending the preview the day before the auction as well as the gallery talk the evening before the auction. I will get to see three more Izannah dolls in person and share about them here.

Ida Mae: An Izannah Walker Doll

Back in the fall I visited with a wonderful lady, who shared her antique Izannah Walker doll with me, and allowed me to document her doll.  ...