Stories

A doll goes out into the world….and what if they don’t come back?

Here is a beguiling story I once read about Franz Kafka who in 1923, a year before his death, was walking through a park in Berlin when he across a small girl in a state of distress. The child was inconsolable as she had lost her favourite doll. Not missing a beat, Kafka immediately informed…

The Art of Doll Photography

“To me it’s normal now, being out and about taking pictures, it looks really crazy but to me it’s perfectly normal. I guess I do express myself” This is not a quote from luminary female photographer Cindy Sherman with a current retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery on until the 15th September, but the doll…

Holding Up the Queue: A Doll went out into the world….

The Doll: The original influencer, a companion, confidante and co-conspirator, what is the role now for the doll in this age when playthings are replaced by avatars on screens? As the popularity of the doll wanes, is she lost or are we? Holding Up The Queue with Simon in this the 4th episode of the podcast…

Transformation through imagination – British folk and their toys

FOLK TOYS Much has been written about folk art, popular art, naive art …. but where is the history of British folk toys? Whenever we think of folk toys we recognise those from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Japan, Russia and India – books have been published on the folk toys from these countries. The toys are…

The Val Gardena Dolls and the return trip to London

In our podcast ‘From the Forest to the Fantastical’ Simon uses allegories of adventures of Dutch Dolls and folk art toys. Through them, he tells the story of the toy industry and the aesthetic of ‘folk art’ and in Britain the ‘popular art’ of toy theatre, Punch and Judy and fairground art that today filters…

Jig Dolls by Zeel

Artists’ Toys and the Toy as Art

Artists and the need to play Artists often tap into their inner child to make toys. Picasso made a miniature theatre fashioned out of an empty Gauloises cigarette packet for his children Maya and Paulo, with tiny paper cut-out figures of commedia del’arte characters for them to perform on the dinky stage. Many artists made…

Holding Up the Queue: From the Forest to the Fantastical

Holding Up the Queue with Simon this episode is Clive Hicks-Jenkins, an artist who has retained that essential spark of playfulness from childhood. Leaving his parents in Wales aged 12 to travel to the bright lights of London, Clive embarked on his metaphorical journey “from the forest to the fantastical”. Simon and Clive meander and…

Why did we decide to launch the Harlequinade Club and what is it?

Why did we decide to launch the Harlequinade Club and what is it?  It’s a club for Pollocks aficionados and you will find out about here and on our social media and in our shop but not on a mailing list, it is here when you want to join in. But it doesn’t really exist,…

Holding Up the Queue: Anthropomorphism and Children’s Toys, Illustration and Literature

Simon and artist Charlotte Cory embark on a spirited discussion on anthropomorphism – from Victorian taxidermy tableaus to the transformative power of play and illustration. These absurd worlds, populated by anthropomorphic inhabitants can help to encourage confidence in children and a sense of liberated perception of others through “pure fantasy”. Charlotte Cory certainly knows how…

Annie Montgomerie at Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop

Annie Montgomerie at Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop In Christmas 2018, Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop played host to a fantastical cast of characters created by Annie Montgomerie. Anthropomorphism & Toys Her anthropomorphic storybook beings are part toy, part sculpture and each individual piece is unique, being made from 100% wool felt, up-cycled fabrics and vintage charms and jewellery….

Denise Hoyle and The Harlequinade Club

I first met Denise Hoyle in 2003 when I bought some of her decorative tinselled cards. I wanted to sell them in the shop so I sought her out, discovering that she was a near neighbour. She invited me to her house where she showed me an amazing quantity of ceramics and watercolours that she…

Holding Up the Queue: The cult of the Harlequinade and the toy theatre

Close your eyes and picture a box that contains a world of magical wonders. A fantastical machine imbued with enchantments powered to life by the imagination and dreams of the seeker, searching for answers to lost and hidden questions, held crystallised like a beating heart within its four walls. This is no ordinary box, but…