I found another nice image on the VADS site. It’s a great site, that. Eminently surfable. This here image follows my recurring blog theme of toys. I’ve long since given up wondering why I like images of toys so much. I’m sure Freud and the other over-thinkers would have a theory on it, though.
These two wooden dolls, pushing their rather over-sized cart and working their rather chic wardrobes, are Pomona toys. The image comes from a Red Rose Guild catalogue of 1935. I recognised the context immediately. The guild’s name appears a lot if you are researching women designers in the 1930s. A bit like an artistic arm of the Women’s Institute, they held craft exhibitions in halls up and down country. Their work sort of fed in to the crafts movement we have today.
Pomona dolls and toys seem to have been formed at some point in the nine-teens. Producing earthenware art dolls then wooden toys by the 1920s. For the British Industries Fair of 1929 they displayed: ‘Well-designed small birds and animals. Noah’s Arks, Merry-go-Rounds, Hobby Horses, Monkeys-up-Sticks, Coster Carts; Dolls in Composition and Wood. Dolls’ Furniture.’
Pomona opened a toy shop and dolls hospital at 64 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea around 1924. I can only imagine what a nice shop that must have been.
I have a soft spot for doll’s hospitals. I read the Twinkle comic when I was young. Bought from the ‘hole-in-the-road‘ newsagent in Sheffield. I went there each Sunday morning with my dad, who’d be getting his copy of Motorsport and a small tin of cigars. My favourite Twinkle strip was ‘Nurse Nancy’ who ran a toy hospital. Hmm..perhaps that explains things?
I’d really like to see the aforementioned ‘well-designed’ birds and animals that Pomona made. But I could only find pictures of a nice, checked-apron doll and a Merry-go-round which lived with the slightly awesome, Gertrude Jekyll-gardened, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.