Being the exciting couple we are, my partner and I were watching the Antiques Roadshow. During the programme a doll was brought in to be assessed by the experts. I have to admit I payed little attention to the initial conversation until S directed my attention to it. There she was, a doll. Now admittedly I hate dolls. I once went out with a guy whose mum was a doll maker. On the way into the house through the garage we had to walk the long walk across her doll making area. A large room with shelves full of detached porcelain arms, legs, torsos, faces, eyes. It terrified me and I would run through, refusing to glance at the pale, ghostly body parts.
This doll however, well she was something else.
In 1740 King George the second reigned over the English monarchy, the last British monarch born outside of England. A German born man he was also the last English monarch to lead an army into battle during the battle of Dettingen. He was remembered with disdain and as a boring fellow, achieving little in terms of policy until recently some scholars have deemed him to have been influencial in foreign policy and the military.
Oblivious to all of this there was a young child playing with their doll.
On Antiques Roadshow they got down to business withing minutes. How much was this 270 plus year old doll worth? A tidy AUS$30,760. There was also talk of a duchess she may have been modelled on. Would she go home to sit on the couch or be sold or go to a museum?
Somewhere, around the 1740’s, during the reign of a seemingly boring King from Germany in England a young child played with their doll. I stopped paying attention to the details, I was lost in some based-on-a-true-story tale. Before this doll became a family heirloom, before she was worth so much financially and destined to live trapped inside a glass box in a museum to never be played with again, hear a child laugh again, she was loved. She was dragged around a home by one arm. She was made to dance on her wooden, petticoat covered legs in a garden. A garden with English box hedges and fox gloves and forget-me-nots and red robins. Her value was measured in a childs love. The child loved her so much they kept her, passed her on to their child. She was not forgotten. You see, before anything can become a family heirloom it must be loved enough to be kept in the first place.
I was lost in a tale of what those eyes must have seen. The world over 270 plus years. And perhaps her longing to just be let back outside, amongst the hedgerows and flowers to dance on her wooden toes under her petticoat once more.