Dancing Dollies and Divas

An exhibition of Handmade Dolls at Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop 

1st April – 26th April 2022 (NOW EXTENDED UNTIL 24th May)

Eileen Lam of Dolly Treasures

Anthony Lewis Churchill

Viola Ann Seddon

This Easter Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop is celebrating the joy of making a doll. In lockdown many of us re-discovered the fun of playing and making your own toy.

We are showing the work of 3 artists, who using re-found fabrics and everyday items have transformed them with trinkets, embroidery and a magical zhuzh into characters from the theatre, opera and ballet. All the dolls were made by hand and with a charming spontaneity which invites the viewer to want to play or be encouraged to make their own.

Follow the trail!

Display case in the South Hall (by Shake Shack) in the Covent Garden, Market Building

Dolly Treasures Dolls

Eileen Lam is known to followers and customers of Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop for her toy photography featuring her doll collection and covetable toy wreaths for our window displays. Before the instagram sensation of ‘Dolly Treasures’ took off, Eileen created a collection of fabric dolls enjoying the recreation of fashion outfits in miniature. Inspired by her visits to the ballet, the dolls represent the characters on and off the stage. We are very pleased to bring the actresses and fashionistas to a shop window in Covent Garden.

Display case in the lobby of Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop

Anthony Lewis Churchill

Using vintage screwdrivers, Anthony turned these discarded hardware into delightful divas such as Audrey Hepburn and Cilla Black as well as fairytale characters Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. Previously a visual merchandiser and a costume maker for West End Shows including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Anthony’s inspiration has always been his childhood love of puppetry and toy theatre. During lockdown he started to make dolls as he realised that the screwdrivers reminded him of Victorian and Georgian dolls. A quick change from junk shop to toy shop, we think these characters deserve a standing ovation.

Display case in Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop

Viola Ann Seddon

The artist behind the very popular Swan Lake Toy Theatre –  Viola Ann Seddon started making dolls in dioramas after attending an art class with Australian Artist Mirke Mora.

A show of Ann’s hand sewn figurines from the Opera at Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop in March 2020 was postponed but we are now delighted to be able to show the theatrical tableaux with the cast of divas this Easter. Since 2020 Ann has had her work shown at The Chelsea Arts Club and the leading specialists in Australian Art the JGM Gallery in Battersea, London.

Selected pieces for sale. Prices on Request

To accompany the exhibition we have put together our selection of items from Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop

  1. Fabric Dolls to make from Miss Ella
  2. Handmade Ballerina Marionettes commissioned from Budapest puppet makers Manufaktor
  3. Vintage Doll faces kit. As seen in the work of ‘kitsch’ artists like Natalie Lete, these original doll faces come with a leaflet illustrated by Lily Day on how to make dolls hair.
  4. Pierette – A Shadow Box, illustrated for Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop by doll collector, illustrator and former host of ‘Holding Up The Queue’ Simon Seddon. This paper shadow box can be cut-out and made into a diorama featuring the Dolly Sisters and Pierette based on a French Vaudevill show. The story of Pierette is also available as a Shadow Play.
  5. The Little Mischiefs Books by Dolly Treasures. The adventures of Ted and the Little Mischiefs (Blythe Dolls from Eileen Lam’s collection) are charming picture books with rhymes. The photographic stories will delight both children and adults.