By Danielle Sandwell
Hello, I am a new volunteer working on the Faith Eaton project. Since joining the team I have been helping to sort through Faith’s vast collection, getting an insight into Faith’s interests and how she dedicated her life to writing about and repairing dolls as well as collecting anything else with relevance to them.
One of the toy catalogues I discovered is a ‘Gallery Shop’ brochure from The Brooklyn Museum in New York, emphasizing how vast Faith’s collection is, with documents from all over the world. The beautiful and colourful Christmas illustrations of toys on the front cover reoccur throughout the catalogue.
Holly also found a Christmas article by Faith herself in the December 1990 edition of Heritage Magazine about Christmas traditions in Victorian England. It gives an idea of the types of presents children within families of different wealths received in Victorian times. From ‘oranges and fruit’ for children of the very poor, who desperately hoped that their gift may be ‘a plaything and not a box of handkerchiefs or woollen gloves’ to ‘wax baby dolls in lace-trimmed cradles, dolls with trunks full of clothes for girls whilst working models of steam and sailing ships, forts and soldiers for boys’ were favoured by wealthy families.
However Faith writes that ‘the best presents came from those who remembered their own childhood and were sensitive to the needs of young children. They provided the magic lanterns and toy theatres from Pollocks, the dolls’ houses with miniature families and furniture, the shops and stables with toy horses; the farms and wooden villages.’ Perhaps this suggests another reason for Faith’s love of dolls – did she believe that toys such as these fulfill children’s wishes and therefore are important when growing up?
Last of all is this delicately illustrated American print which Holly found from Faiths Collection. Among the illustrations are traditional American Christmas recipes. We think it could be wrapping paper, or even a poster print. Either way, we thought that the print was enjoyable, with fun illustrations representing this time of year. We aren’t sure where this print came from specifically, but it gives another example of the range of Faith’s collection.
More posts will be coming in the New Year, but for now we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!