Stories

Frills & Furbelows – Dressing Up and the Transformative Power of Costume

I smile to myself when I think how ONLY Pollock’s customers would literally hold up the queue by dressing up as a 18th century society lady and turning up to Trafalgar Square. In 2015 we were running a workshop (for 20,000 people) at West End Live’s annual theatrical showcase.  Artist Olia Manizer, who came to Pollocks…

Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop talks to The TOY Project

1st June is International Children’s Day and to mark this whilst the shop is closed during the health crisis we asked all our podcast guests to allow us to make a print of their favourite image and offer exclusive sales to raise money for The TOY Project, a charity based in North London that recycles…

The History of Benjamin Pollock in Six Acts (Act 3, 4,5 & 6)

Working for an enterprise with such enthralling history behind it, I every so often find myself speculating how those heroes of the past felt….  Whenever I explore the history of Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, I see it as a vivid theatrical work divided into dramatic acts. Raphael Pinheiro Gonçalves March 2020 The History of Benjamin Pollock…

The History of Benjamin Pollock in Six Acts (Act 1 & 2)

Working for an enterprise with such enthralling history behind it, I every so often find myself speculating how those heroes of the past felt whilst working through wars and personal tragedy. I try to transport myself to the mid-19th century, more accurately to 1851, as an attempt to imagine what it was like, when a…

Opera House in a Box – Dolls & Dioramas

An exhibition by Viola Ann Seddon With titles by Simon Seddon Copyright Viola Ann Seddon & Simon Seddon Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop Easter 2020  

Viola Ann Seddon – Dancers, Ballerinas & Acrobats

Toy theatre friends The best thing about running in a shop is meeting all your customers. Some who become friends, podcast guests, artistic collaborators. At the end of last year I was trying to source a toy theatre.  The ballet in a box ‘Swan Lake’ by Jean Mahoney and Viola Ann Seddon, published by Walker…

‘Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad…’

Hugo Cabret: ‘Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do… Maybe it’s the same with people. If you lose your purpose… it’s like you’re broken.’ I’m a technician with a special interest in the very early days of motion…

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…

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…