Lord and Lady Clapham date to the much earlier time period of Susan’s historical novels, rather than my books—which makes them all the more wondrous. Not only have they survived more than 300 years, but they’ve still got their clothes, even their underwear! Equally thrilling to a Nerdy History Girl, they’re believed to have belonged to descendants of Samuel Pepys.
You can find detailed descriptions of the dolls here and here at the V&A site, as well as more photographs of their attire, including closeups of their little bodies and even their stockings & garters.
They are jointed, and obviously were meant to be dressed and undressed, which makes it even more amazing that they’re in such splendid condition. Think of all those old Barbies one comes across at yard sales. No, better yet, think what happens to Barbies once a little girl gets her hands on them.
More children’s treasures at the V&A include this 1835 doll, and this one from a slightly earlier period.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.