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VI International Doll Salon, Moscow

October 2010.

This was my first experience of exhibition on such a large scale. Our booth was named  "Doll Collection from Tsarskoye Selo", but really there were three exhibitors: Museum of Tsarskoye Selo (with dolls from Alexandrovsky Palace; "Tsarskoye Selo" = "Royal Village"), artist Vita Soyka with her wood-carved dolls, me and other collectors as "Happy Dolls Club" with antique dolls collection. It was vivid showing what were the rich playing rooms of XIX - XX centuries consisting of. 


From Tsar's Village there were only two dolls: walking Roullet et Decamps/Simon & Halbig and "Tsarina" replica. The doll in mariner suit is mine but she was at Alexandrovsky Palace's Grand Opening. Quite modest presentation... 


So there were my additions to this exposition:


Metal head doll Buschow & Beck “Minerva”, the same models shown on the photo from 1907 featuring Russian Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatyana. And celluloid doll Rheinische Gummi as shown on the photo from 1912 featuring little Duchess Vera Konsvantinovna lived nearby in Pavlovsk (see photos below). China tea set – German, early XX century, it is mine too. I decided to bring them to exhibition because they are exact counterparts of existed ones. It is very interesting to notice cheap dolls' presence in such a rich playing rooms.  


Small 24 cm. (9") replica of teddy-bear Alfonzo (Germany, “Steiff”), given as present in 1908 to Princess Xenia by her father Russian Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovitch Romanov. Princess named the bear “Alfonzo”, and her nanny made him a cotton Cossack costume. 

In 1914 Xenia and small red bear travelled to London to spend the summer with her mother, who was a cousin of George V. World War I started and then Russian revolution of 1917 so the Princess and Alfonzo remained in London and so she saved her life. Tsar Nicholas II and his family were shot at Yekaterinburg in July 1918. Xenia's father was assassinated in St Petersburg in 1919. Till the rest of her life Xenia kept red bear, the only memory of her father. 

In 1965 Princess Xenia died and Alfonzo was inherited by her daughter. Then in 1989 he was sold on the Christies Auction for £12100 to Ian Pout, “Teddy Bears of Witney” shop owner. In 1990 Steiff made a limited edition replica, exclusive to the shop. Original Alfonzo was 33 cm tall. This teddy was bought in “Teddy Bears of Witney”, he named Baby Alfonzo and just 24 cm tall, more cheap edition. But I would say - more cute.

Box for needlework is English from XX century beginning, has silk lining. Its interiour is full of whitework and trimmings: hand embroideries, laces, doll dresses including tiny corset, mother-of-pearls buttons, silk ribbons, antique scissors and other things.


Amazing girls' dresses from1900-s. They are made of lightweight lawn, skillful emroidery and hand laces. Dress on the right must have silk belt (koushack), tied in a big bow on the back. For example such a dresses you can see on girls in the photo beside. 

On the back the long christening baby gown is hanging.

Compact photocamera Kodak Folding, 1912, in the b/w photo on the left you can see maid of honour Anna Vyrubova holding the same camera. 

Little Alfonzo, box for needlework, its stuff, dresses,camera - are mine too.


Reviewing the results I just want to say that I really had no need in taking part in the Doll Salon because I’m not the dollmaker or dolldealer, nobody likes to show his antique doll collection, moreover some rare and expensive dolls are not mine, and it was a great risk. But this event was of great importance for both me and the visitors. Hope many people opened for themselves still unknown world of antique dolls.

Generally, I tend to believe that enormous number of visitors, sold out catalogue – all this facts relate not in the last place to our exposition. Guests “out of subject” were glancing over showcases and went further. Guests “in subject” were standing with photo- and video-cameras, asking questions and telling stories for quite a long time. For those visitors little Steiner Gigoteur was being taken out. And there was very amusing happening, this 140-years-old French kicking doll started to speak! Usually she simply squeaks, but when she clearly said “papa” and “mama” it was so suddenly that I nearly dropped her! Exactly “papa” and “mama”. Poor doll seems to be struck:) 


To my great regret I had no time to take a photographs of all our dolls, because we had a lot of personal visitors. 


Walking Roullet & Decamps, "Tsarina" replica, Minerva by Buschow & Beck, celluloid doll by Rheinische Gummi and child's tea set.


Doll in mariner suit made by Kammer & Reinhardt, "Tsarina" replica, Alfonzo and box for needlework.


The teddy bear is vintage (1950s, USSR made), but he is pretty good to represent playing room stuff.


Antique dolls from my collection. Every doll has inscription.


Bebe Bru by Sayuri Sinn among french antique dolls. Some people thought she's antique too:)


Three wood art dolls by Vita Soyka - on the right. Later I'll made an entry about them in English, now here's only Russian version.
Two dolls on the left - original antique wood dolls from XVIII century (not mine).


My article about Russian Grand Duchesses' dolls printed in Doll Salon catalogue. Now it abailable only in Russian, but I want to re-write it and then you could read it here.

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VI International Doll Salon