A wax doll dressed by Queen Victorias eldest daughter, the Empress Frederick of Germany (christened Princess Victoria, the Princess Royal), is to be sold at Bonhams
, Knightsbridge on Wednesday 26th May, as part of the Fine Dolls and Teddy Bears sale.
The Empress dressed the doll, which is expected to fetch £800 1,200, for a bazaar in London to raise funds for impoverished Germans in the city circa 1868, and it was bought by the financier Baron von Schroder. The doll wears a beautiful long white cotton and lace dress with a pink satin underskirt, layers of underclothing and a ribboned bonnet.
Going back in time, one of the first wooden dolls ever made (circa 1680), is also being offered in the auction. The doll is dressed in the habit of the Carmelite convent at Bethune, which speaks of the religious turmoil of the time. The few known 17th century dolls dressed in habits are thought to have belonged to the children of Catholic families, who were sent abroad to be educated. They would send their doll back to England dressed according to the order they had joined, and to signify that they were safe. This lot is estimated at £10,000 15,000.
A 1920s Lenci doll (estimate £1,000 1,500), entitled June Bride and based on the film star Marlene Dietrich, is another important lot. Lenci is believed to have modelled several of his boudoir dolls on Dietrich, who was herself a collector of Lenci.
Further highlights include a fine example of a Bru Bebe (estimate £6,000 9,000), circa 1875; a papier-mache German doll, which comes with a note stating that the doll was bought at Birmingham Fair by SL Bartham for her sister AE Bartham; a fine Sleeping Beauty musical automaton (estimate £10,000 15,000), dated circa 1880, which winds up to feature a breathing Beauty, and a Prince playing a lute; and a remarkable Noahs Ark (estimate £3,000 5,000), built in Germany in the 1870s, which comes with a complete set of animals, from lions to grasshoppers.