Dolls. For many people, dolls are quite off putting, especially antique dolls from the Victorian period. That glassy eyed stare, the frozen pose as they gaze into the middle distance, it almost feels sometimes as if they’re looking at you. In fact any doll made from the Victorian age and up and including the 1950s is quite unique and unsettling in equal measures. Some were made to be the size of a small child, but they do fascinate as much as they scare. As you look at each doll through the ages each decade is a sign of further technological innovation and evolution in toy making, as new materials led to ever more sophisticated techniques leading up to present day Barbies.
You may think that what you have in front of you when you buy a musical box is a piece of history and a financial investment, but there’s something else, something personal, sentimental. It may have been bought for a child or an adult, for play or for love, whichever the case the box is full of memories, some good some bad, but all the same the story of someone else’s life. I realise that perhaps you could say that about almost any piece of antique furniture or piece of art, if it’s sat in someone’s sitting room or dining area, party to years of family squabbles, marriages and deaths, reunions and separations. But a music box is something else.
There’s something that sets it apart for me, perhaps for more personal reasons. A music box certainly has a degree of sentimentality about it, perhaps because of the musical element, the eerie sound as you crank it up, or the movement of the inner wheels and cogs that turn whatever’s inside around on its clockwork journey, like it’s been done a million times before. I can only think of another antique that makes me feel that way and that’s Victorian dolls, they always fill me with wonder and fascination as to their history.
I love pocket watches and have a certain affection for them, they are the gentleman’s watch and give off a certain elegant charm to its wearer. Sherlock Holmes used his Hunter case watch to solve many a case and perhaps this is where my affection for the pocket watch comes from, the eccentric detective sleuth solving crimes and making discoveries with his pocket watch close to his chest.