So I came across an Ebay deal I just couldn't pass up. I got Felicity's fashion doll and invitation along with Felicitys holiday dress (complete) for $59.99 plus $6.50 shipping. I have noticed from my daily Ebay lurking that the holiday dress in good complete condition averages $50-$60 so I pretty much got the fashion doll for free (which also averages $50+ especially with the invite).
So anyways, before I tell you about my purchase, here is your history lesson...
In colonial times, most upper class women had women who helped them stay fashionable in the latest trends. These women were called Mantua Makers and they often worked in milliner shops. Fashion magazines were rare so the Mantua Makers would show ladies the latest fashions by showing them fashion dolls (sometimes called babies). These dolls were sent to the Mantua Makers from France and England, then the MM's (Mantua Makers) would copy the dresses from the dolls. In Felicity's series, her gown she wore to Lady Templeton's ball was modeled after a fashion doll (this one I just bought!) that was displayed in her fathers store.
Above are examples of what these fashion dolls actually looked like. They were hand carved out of wood and as you can see, the outfits were extremely detailed so they would be exact replica's of the full size gowns. So...I know that was pretty brief but there isn't too much more to say about them. They are extremely beautiful and I absolutely love them.
Now to start talking about my purchase. The doll is made of wood and is jointed at the hips and armpits so there is some movement. When I first opened the package and looked at the doll I was actually surprised to see it was bigger than I thought. It is close to 6 inches tall. It has white stockings painted onto her legs. The dress does resemble Felicity's but it is much more simple. The dress is not removable and neither is the pinner cap on her head. This version of this doll is the first released by American Girl, there is one other version that was released later on that has a more "spoon" shaped head rather than this cylinder shaped one.
In the Felicity series, she was invited to the dance of the governors wife, Lady Dunmore. Her invite was brought to her door via a footman. When I talked about samplers in an earlier post and I think I talked a bit about it when I talked about tea as well, young ladies schooling consisted of learning ladylike skills. Dancing was one of those skills that had to be learned. A typical night at a fancy ball would usually start out with dining. The ladies were to eat first, afterwards the table was cleared, reset, and then the men dined. So if you're a man attending these balls, you better pack some beef jerky or something cause it might be a while... During the time period when the men were eating. The women visited with each other and got all the gossiping out of the way because once the dining was done. S**t gets serious. The balls started with a dance called the Minuet. Two people at a time would go out onto the dance floor and preform the minuet. This is a dance that must be preformed perfectly and is taken very seriously. I mean..if a young lady does this flawlessly, she could bring home a husband. This would be danced for probably an hour and then its time for everyone to let their hair down (so to speak) and have some fun. The rest of the night, the music would liven up and they would dance what is called Contredanses. They would dance their hearts out until after midnight and sometimes it was very common for guests to come back for a second night of dancing the next day!
So the invite that came with the fashion doll is made of a stiff paper. The outside says "Mrs.Merriman" and on the inside it reads..
presents her compliments
to Mrs.Merriman and
requests the favour of her
daughter Felicity's attendance
at a dancing lesson
at the palace on Saturday
January 7 at
A red ribbon is tied around the letter, which this one didn't come with the ribbon but I just bought some ribbon.
Okay so there you have it, a history lesson and a review. This has taken me days to finish because things have been hectic for me lately so I hope it has been informative and have peaked your interest.
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