Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Scurvy Pirate & A Medieval Lady

So here she is at last.
I finally finished off my doll of Captain Morgan's Daughter :)

Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal British Navy, and also a Pirate! He was one of the most notorious and successful privateers in history, and one of the most ruthless who worked in the Spanish Main.

Even though Henry married his cousin Mary in 1666 there’s no record of them ever having any children, but in my mind I imagine this famous Welsh Pirate having had a mistress or two tucked away around the Caribbean, and that he may have had one or more illegitimate children.
This doll is me letting myself imagine what the daughter of Captain Morgan would be like if she’d been allowed to grow up aboard ship with her farther. Of course a woman would never have been allowed at sea (it was considered bad luck), and would have had a hard time protecting herself against other sailors unless she was a strong brave fighter – Just like Captain Morgan’s Daughter!
Female pirates were not unknown, and history shows us a few of these ladies that were brave, ruthless and successful.

Captain Morgan’s Daughter has a mixed up selection of clothing that she’s gathered for herself from raids she’s been involved in, and she wears her swag with pride. Over a fine silk shift and drawers she wears a man’s striped silk breaches tied with ribbons at the knee beneath her lace trimmed skirts. To make it easier for her to run around the ship and fight during battle she wears her skirts gathered up and tied in place. She stole her embroidered military coat from a drunken officer at one of her favourite taverns (which is why it’s a little big), and her hat from the room of a travelling gentleman while he was at dinner. She wields her engraved sword better than most trained men, and can outfight even the best. And at her waist hangs the jewelled key to her hidden treasure chest.

She weighs approx. 230g, and she is 52cm tall.

I've just started work on two (make that three) new dolls.

This one, Cerridwen, is for Linda who's helping me make my Beth by making all of the intricate wire work jewellery and adornments. She refused to be paid for her work, so instead we agreed that I'd make her a doll, so I sculpted this one especially for her when I made up my last batch. She has wonderful peachy pearl coloured eyes, and Linda has asked that I dress her using the same fabrics that I used for Beth.
I can't tell you exactly who Cerridwen is, or rather was, just yet in case Linda herself is reading (don't be sneaky lovely lady, I'm not telling), as she wanted a surprise doll. But I can tell you what I've told her, which is that she's a medieval lady, and already has a silk shift embroidered by me in blackwork pansies, and a pale gold under-dress trimmed with a tapestry border. Her under dress with be of the same rich gold jacquard as Beth's underskirt, and her loose over-dress with low hanging arm holes and split sides will be in the same lovely blue silk brocade as Beth's gown.

I also started work on Lady Harriet Mordaunt, and got as far as her structured steel inserted ruffled petticoat before I gave in to her demands that she was dressed "All Wrong". She just wouldn't behave, wouldn't look right, and was shouting at me a Lot! So I had no choice but to bow to the pressure she was putting me under and put her aside. Whoever this doll is she is certainly not happy about being Lady Mordaunt (a women involved in one of the greatest Victorian scandals when her divorce proceedings brought the Prince of Wales himself in to the stands), but she is very reluctant to tell me who she actually is. She's back in the box now, waiting with the other naked dolls until she decides to speak up so I can give her what she wants. And I've moved on to the next doll on my list - Mrs Lovett.
I don't have any pics of her yet, and she's only in her undies anyway, but I couldn't resist it any longer and am finally making Mrs Lovett. I love the great mix up of fact and fiction that makes up the fantasy tale of Sweeney Todd and his villainous partner in crime Mrs Lovett. I mean, what could possibly lead a woman to butcher and then cook another human being. And to make matters worse actually go and sell these cannibalistic pies to her unwitting customers!!!
To me a lot of it has to do with her pathetic, desperate and unrequited love for the dynamic, manic and ruthless Mr Todd...


  1. I absolutely adore your work! The detail of your art and your words is totally mesmerizing. I am curious, what does Captain Morgan's daughter go by? What is her name? Did I miss this?
    When I create a doll I always save the head for last as they do tend to get bossy and pushy once they "appear". Oh how I hate to get into a doll snit!

  2. Hi Kimber, I'm so sorry I missed your message. Thank you very much for your kind words :)
    I never gave Captain Morgan's Daughter a first name. I've left that up to whoever she goes to live with.
    It's strange we all work in different ways isn't it. I always start with the head and let them tell me who they are :)