Welp, after working on another singularly daft project since December, I thought it was probably time to share the finished thing now I’ve finally completed it - another doll project. This time, though. I went for something much more ambitious.
My Turn:Washington Spies Figures were much smaller. Mini-Simcoe was a modest 9 inches, whilst Anna and Major Hewlett are a teeny 5 inches, and look like toddlers next to this tall young lady.
The thought process behind this one really comes from an inspiring reblog from the awesome @ohmslewis - everyone deserves the chance to star in their own Gothic novel or period drama. Candelabras, masked balls and ghastly family secrets in the mausoleum are open to all. So, in light of this, I made the delightful 12-inch Lady Penelope Clement (who is probably a young innocent heiress to a vast estate or something. I don’t know, guys - you decide. Comedy of manners or tragic heroine?)
I was ridiculously nerdy with this one as the size was much better to work with on the sewing front, so Lady Penelope has hand sewn period-appropriate 18th century attire, down to her tiny cotton shift. She has grey stockings with embroidered ribbon garters, a proper front and back lacing set of stays, and hip pads to give her the correct silhouette, as well as a fine white cambric petticoat with a pinked ruffle at the hem.
I was particularly pleased with her gown. I used Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Close Up book to draft the pattern for her open gown and petticoat in the lovely autumnal plaid cotton, and it gave me the opportunity to go absolutely nuts on the trim and use - wait for it! - Rococo trim. And ribbon and ruching and pinking and all manner of 18th century goodness.
The only thing I didn’t like doing was her shoes. GOD.The shoes. I foolishly assumed making those would be easy. I assumed wrong. Those little black felt and foam constructs were objects of torture!
But, I got there in the end. And she really looks so lovely I can’t help but feel damn proud I made her.
Blew through two seasons of Outlander in just over two weeks like the self-control-less mad man I am and then receded into a (very pathetic) state of mourning which was quickly remedied by the discovery that the show is based on a series of books! Hurray! Austin went out and got me the books while I was at work yesterday so if you cannot reach me it’s because I am in 18th century Scotland.
When I was in college, I took a class on “Rise of the Novel.” We read Fanny Hill which is an 18th century pornography novel. It’s great. You get lots of dated colloquialisms for sex practises. Anyhoo, apparently beating is a big thing in old fashioned English porn. The guy in the dorm next to me was also in the class. One night I wake up to a voice going, “Oh!” and a slapping sound from next door. APPARENTLY THE GUY HAD BROUGHT THE NOVEL INTO PRACTICE??? I told the prof about it because I thought he’d get a kick out of it. ANYWAY, studying literature is important and will enhance your life. (?)
You smoothed out your skirt as the giant gates unlocked before you. It was your first day at work, a housekeeper for a ridiculously large house. Unlike the other modern apartments, this house stood out from the bunch. Its gothic look and vast land looked to be as if the house itself dropped out of a 18th century novel.
You walked up the pathway, shivering at how cold the night had become. Two stone gargoyles stared at you from the entrance of the door, making you question the weird taste of furniture your boss had. You hastened to knock on the door, feeling the creeps as the stone gargoyles seemed to actually look at you. However, before you could place your hand to the golden doorknocker, it swung open slightly, allowing you to enter. You warily entered the place, your eyes sweeping around the room for any signs of danger. Probably not, but you couldn’t trust a house like this. The hall itself was dark, making it hard for you to see things properly.
“Hello?” You called out. Light blinded you as the room was flooded in it. A man stood at the top of the stairs before you. His beauty was breathtaking, as if he wasn’t human. Dark eyes stared at you, his even darker skin a contrast to your pale one.
“Come in.” He spoke. You felt your knees buck suddenly as your leg moved towards him. He slowly walked up the stairs and you found yourself following him. You willed your legs to go back, but they didn’t budge. When you reached the top of the stairs, he led you into a room.
“Sit.” He ordered. Your knees buckled underneath you, causing you to fall. You gritted your teeth, preparing yourself for the harsh impact against your butt. It wasn’t there. You had fallen on a chair, one that was not there before.
“Who are you?” You asked, voice quivering. There was definitely something wrong with this man. He was handsome, definitely. But too handsome for a human man. Plus voice control? That was the thing you only saw in movies. Not very nice movies in fact, you loved literature more than Sci fi movies after all. Well excluding the voice control part, the freak seemed to be able to control furniture as well. Psychic? Probably. Will he hurt you? Yes, very much so.
“Cha Hakyeon.” He said, his eyes staring deep into yours.
“What are you?” You asked, shrinking back from his gaze and into your chair.
“Something.” He replied. He slipped out a piece of paper from his jacket pocket, sliding it over to you.
‘Employment Notice’. The paper read.
“I’m not working for you if I don’t know whether or not I’ll be safe to.” You frowned, getting up. Your reached for your suitcase, your fingers barely clasping the handle before a voice startled you.
“Sit down.” Hakyeon’s voice made you shiver as your knees gave way again, pulling you back into the chair.
“Sign.” He placed a pen on the table. Your fingers reached for it, definitely his voice control at work. Without your consent, you signature had been scrawled at the bottom of the paper. Hakyeon slipped it out from your hands, stuffing it back into his jacket.
“Congratulations.” He smirked, reaching a hand out to yours.
Portrait of Theophila Palmer (1771). Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A.. (English, 1723-1792). Oil on canvas.
Reynolds has captured his niece, affectionately known as ‘Offy’ as she sits reading her novel, Clarissa Harlowe by Samuel Richardson. The position of her body suggests relaxation and no hint of being observed. Her gaze turns away from the viewer, as she reads one of the 18th century’s finest novels, which was written in 1747-48, in the form of letters from the eponymous heroine to her friend Miss Howe, and from her lover, Robert Lovelace to his friend John Belford.
I just finished the great-great-great-grandmother of all the “women running from houses” novels (first published 1791). Adeline, the virtuous and beautiful orphaned heroine is–clearly–one of the literary ancestors of Victoria Winters. She literally runs from houses more than once in this book as she is kidnapped and escapes several times. Oh, and unsurprisingly she turns out to be a long-lost heiress in the end! It’s fascinating seeing all these literary tropes at their beginnings–in embryo, as it were.