Thursday, 7 January 2010

BONNET LADIES, May I introduce......

If I had known how charming - and how rare - these French 'bonnet ladies' were I should have started colleting them 20 years ago. They are called 'marottes' and were used to display bonnets and coifs in little millinery shops in France. The best are made of papier mache and are hand painted with doll-like faces and simple hair styles. They have been dug out of attics and store-rooms and have often suffered damage to their pert little noses but their eyes are fixed towards you in a naive stare and demand attention. I have seen them in museums of folk art, and did once own one but it did not stay long with me. The folk museum at Laduz not far from Auxerre in Burgundy has several, and these are from the Regional Art Museum at Saintes in the Charente. They now fetch several hundred pounds - if you can find one!

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