Ellen Tsagaris is the resident RJW Design Journal guest blogger. She has collected dolls since she was three years old. She has made dolls, priced dolls, repaired, dressed, and studied dolls and her blogging work can be found on the doll collecting section of about.com and on her personal doll blogs, Doll Museum, and Dr. E's Doll Museum blog. Ellen is a fan and collector of R. John Wright dolls and we were fortunate to have her guest blog for us about RJW's 40th Anniversary and the color red.
As we his fans know, 2016 celebrates R. John Wright’s 40th year making dolls. Beginning in 1976, the year of The Bicentennial, RJW has been creating unique and beautiful dolls for doll collectors and art lovers alike.
The traditional gift for a 40th Anniversary Celebration is a ruby. Therefore, let’s talk about dolls dressed in red, dolls from India whence rubies come, and patriotic dolls in red, white, and blue.
The story of red riding hood is known in many countries, with the most familiar version that compiled by The Brothers Grimm. In Spain, for example, she is Caperucita Roja.
Dolls of all types have been dressed as the red-caped one, and a few represent the wolf and Grandma, too! Topsy-turvy multi-faced dolls representing all three were popular during the 70s. Storybook dolls of all kinds, Nancy Ann, Madame Alexander, Gas Station Dolls and more also wore the red cape.
Asian dolls often wear beautiful clothes of red silk, especially bride dolls from China. Japanese dolls of cloth and wire that represent Kabuki Theater actors often wear gorgeous kimonos in red print.
Who among us doll collectors doesn’t have at least one Dorothy dolls from The Wizard of Oz wearing the famous ruby slippers. Below is R. John Wright’s superb portrait of Dorothy wearing her famous shoes. I recently saw a museum exhibit devoted to The Wizard of Oz that included a pair of the slippers from the film as well as other dolls and figures that wore them. I confess I have an adult version that I bought in Spain.
Christmas dolls like RJW’s Ginger the mouse often sport red outfits, as do Santas and other holiday figures. Red is a great color for antique dolls; it sets off their often pale complexions and is a wonderful color in red silk and red velvet.
Red is also the color of bravery, and many countries, including the United States, incorporate red in the colors of their flags and regalia. In 1976, many patriotic and historical dolls were made to celebrate the 200th birthday of the United States. One of the larger patriotic dolls in my collection came from a gift shop in The Union Oyster House, Boston.
Forty years creating dolls makes one a legend. RJW is certainly that and more. Many More Happy Years, and I hope we’re all here to read the post I write to celebrate 80 years of doll making by RJW!