Movie Sleuth

Sleuth, a film by by Joseph L. Manciewicz

Courtesy of Skinner, Inc

Based on Anthony Schaffer’s screenplay, the original version of Sleuth (1972) is a two-handed thriller, starring Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, that plays on the conventions of the traditional English “Whodunnit” made famous by authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers.

The film is set in Cloke Manor, the rambling country residence of a detective fiction writer, [...] Click here to continue reading.

Ormolu – non-furniture


Ormolu, an 18th-century English term, is from the French phrase or moulu, with “or” indicating gold and “moulu” being a form of an old French verb moudre, which means “to grind up.” (This French term for this technique is bronze dore.) This idea of “ground-up gold”refers to the production process of ormolu, where high-quality gold is finely powdered and added to a mercury mixture and applied to a bronze object. Modern usage often [...] Click here to continue reading.

Madame Alexander Dolls

Madame Alexander: Quality Dolls & Innovative Marketing

Doll collectors love her high quality toys, but it was marketing savvy of this Russian-Jewish immigrant entrepreneur that put Scarlett O’Hara of Gone with the Wind into the arms of millions of little girls in the industry’s first ever licensed movie merchandise tie-in.

The Madame Alexander Doll Company made popular dolls at affordable prices, but their success was as due to innovative marketing as well as unique [...] Click here to continue reading.

Walker, Izannah – American Dollmaker

Izannah Walker – Early American Cloth Dolls

Izannah Walker began creating cloth dolls in her Central Falls, Rhode Island, home in the 1850′s and on into the 1880′s, becoming one of the earliest of the commercial doll producers. The process she used (which allegedly came to her in a dream) was alternating layers of cloth and paste that ingeniously stiffened cloth dolls and hardened them to a papier-mache-like quality. The bodies were formed in [...] Click here to continue reading.

Chase, Martha – Dolls

Martha Chase Dolls

In the 1890s, a woman named Martha Chase, having fond memories of a beloved childhood doll, decided to bring similar joy to the lives of other children. She began constructing dolls and soon gained a large following enabling her to found the Martha Chase Doll Co. in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

One of the more innovative of the Chase dolls was the 1910 Chase Hospital Doll, which had a water-tight rubber interior [...] Click here to continue reading.

Gutta Percha – definition

Gutta Percha

Gutta percha is defined as a tough plastic substance made from the latex of several Malaysian trees (generally Payena and Palaquium) of the sapodilla family that resembles rubber but contains more resin, and is used especially as insulation and in dentistry.

Golliwogg Dolls

Golliwogg Dolls

The market for cloth character dolls really boomed with the creation of the Golly by Florence Upton, who was born to English parents in New York in 1873 and illustrated a children’s story, “The Adventures of two Dutch Dolls And A Golliwogg ” (written by Bertha Upton, 1895), with a black rag-doll character called Golliwogg who had a big smile, fuzzy hair and staring, white-rimmed eyes. He wore brightly colored clothes, including [...] Click here to continue reading.

LaFrance, Helen – American Artist – Southern

Helen LaFrance (American, Kentucky, born 1919)

Helen LaFrance (not her real name) is a self-taught black artist, born in Western Kentucky in 1919. She prefers to paint memory images of the disappearing lifestyle of the rural South, always following her mother’s wisdom to “paint what you know.” LaFrance has also painted religious themes and floral studies in oil on canvas. She used to carve wooden animal sculptures and dolls and made wonderful quilts, but [...] Click here to continue reading.

Lambert, Leopold – automaton

Leopold Lambert

Leopold Lambert was born on October 8, 1854, in Jouques, a small village near Aix-en-Provence in France. He relocated to Paris in 1873, and started work as a clockmaker/jeweller. While working in Vichy’s shop, he began to be interested in automata, and by 1886, he had his own shop. Lambert had married Eugenie Maria Bourgeois, who was a seamstress, in 1876. It was she who made many of the costumes for the [...] Click here to continue reading.

Steiff Cloth Dolls

Steiff Cloth Dolls

Although best known for their mohair Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals, the Steiff toy organization traces its founding to the 1870′s when Margarete Steiff hand-made dolls for neighbor youngsters. The popularity of these led to other stuffed animals made from discarded factory scraps, which proved so well received the enterprise incorporated itself under the names of Margarete and her brother Fritz Steiff. By 1903, the company had a booming European [...] Click here to continue reading.

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