Above photos: 1.Sasha Morgenthaler Dolls & Pat's Sculptures. 2.Lourdes Doll, 1858. 3. Dolls purchased at Paris Doll Shop. 4.Hank's Sailor Dolls. 5. Haskell Boat Shop Room Box. 6. Pat's Doll House, etc. 7. Charm Charleston Doll Club. 8. Pat with Lynn Murray, Silvia Cangas, and Marie Doll, Italy 2017.
In the spring of 2014, Pat saw an ad in Antique Doll magazine for a European doll tour. Touring was one of the things we’d thought of to keep us busy. She showed me the TLC Doll Tour ad and said, “I’m going on this trip. Read it over and see if you’d like to join me.” When I saw the tour included a stop in Bavaria—where Pat and I had spent our honeymoon in 1957—I decided to join her and we signed up for our first Doll Tour—and first tour of any kind.
In May 2014, we joined 21 doll collectors, dealers, and the editor, Donna Kaonis of Antique Doll magazine on our first TLC doll tour to Italy, Switzerland and Germany. We met our tour director, Lynn Murray from Canada and her sister, Anne. We got to know them very well. Lynn’s personality, knowledge, organizational skills and just being fun to be around, made her trips so interesting. I was the only man on that first tour except for Marshall and Craig, who were part of Lynn’s staff. I was concerned about whether a doll tour would keep me interested and soon found that was no problem—the doll business is fascinating plus Lynn organizes her tours so they are balanced between doll-oriented places and other art museums, palaces, churches, historical places and private homes.
Pat and I became fascinated with these TLC Doll Tours and we joined Lynn Murray and her sister, Anne Trump (no relation) on a total of six tours in 2014 ’15, ’16 and 2017. We travelled in a private bus all over Europe, staying in excellent hotels and visiting numerous art museums, churches, doll shops, people’s homes with doll collections, flea markets, antique shows, and many historical castles. I’ll talk about a few of our experiences & people on these tours—recognizing we’d be here all day if I tried covering every detail of all tours.
b.We visited Samy Odinand saw his doll museum there. Unfortunately, terrorists attacked Paris just three days after this tour ended and Samy recently told us he had to close his museum because of the dramatic drop in tourists. (From average of 200 daily to 10-12 Daily). While at Samy’s he put on a seminar on Francois Gaultier Fashion Lady dolls, also called Poupée de Mode from 1860 to1916, Bebe's with open or closed mouth from 1879 to1900 and small All Bisque dolls and other porcelain doll parts.
c.Later that same day, Pat and I, together with our friends, Silvia (Madrid) and Pat Blythe (Australia), visited a marvelous doll shop, Maison de Poupee—one of the few remaining dollshops left from the hundreds that used to be in this city.
Lynnwrote the following about this shop:
The owners, Françoise du Roth-Hazard and Gilles Valée have had the shop in this location for as long as I remember going to Paris looking for dolls... I met them in the late 1970s or early 1980s. They always have the most fabulous dolls! Typically, the best dolls are not out on display, nor can they be seen from the enticing window displays. Françoise takes her time to "size you up" before bringing out things that she thinks might suit you.... a tiny Bru or diminutive Steiner, an original French papier maché in a wooden wedding box or a complete set of Psyche Paper Dolls, to name a few. The magazine, LA TOILETTE de PSYC E, first published in Paris in 1834 with all subscribers receiving a paper doll.
Pat bought a French doll, paper-mache from the 1850-60s era. Point the doll out!We learned later that our daughter-in-law, Michelle, had lived in her aunt’s apt. in the same building while she attended Le Sorbonne for her master’s degree.
d.Another special treat was the day we walked to the Place Bastille for the opening of the Antiquites Brocanta, ‘the grand antique show that takes place twice a year along the banks of Canal St. Martin. This show was a mix of antiques and flea market stalls and Pat was, once again, in her glory.
We had one experience with our credit card when Pat selected a pair of antique earrings from a couple who have an antique shop in London. They said they weren’t able to process a card at their stall but would bring me to the ‘head office’ where it could be done. Leaving Pat in the show, I walked up to the central place and they ran my card. When I went to sign it, I saw the figure was four times the price we thought was on the tag. She turned the tag over and showed me the price. I knew Pat wouldn’t want to pay that much—but how do we erase a credit card charge that’s already been processed. Fortunately I spoke enough French to explain the problem and after I stood my ground, they admitted they didn’t know how to reverse the charge, and gave me the full amount of the wrong charge in Euro Cash!We were lucky.
Visiting Spain turned out being a pleasant surprise, although it was more of a cultural tour than a doll tour. Although our tour members were doll oriented, we saw so many fascinating places, they didn’t seem to mind. We saw a few doll and toy exhibits but, compared with Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and France, Spain is definitely not known for dolls.
This area, formally part of East Germany, is the piece de resistance of Lynn’s Doll Tours. We have been to this area on three of the six tours as is the location of the famous Puppen-festival. I’d like to read from Lynn’s noteson this area:
We will start the day at the wonderful doll shop of Daniela Zitzmann. Daniela traditionally brings out some very fine, rare dolls from her own collection every year at this time. I have purchased many dolls, porcelain figures, trinket boxes, etc. from Daniela and always been very happy with my purchases.
Across the parking lot, Danielle's husband, Klause, has a shop devoted to Christmas items and old store stock. It is a fascinating place to visit.
Just up the street, the Zismann's have turned an old elementary school into a fleamarket. This is truly a fleamarket with treasures hiding in among the trash . . .
From the Zitzmann “enclave” we will get back on the bus and to visit another part of the family. Daniela's brother, Martin Haida and his parents.They were the first people I met in Sonnenberg after re- unification. They struggled to get their family teddy bear business thriving, but it was simply too difficult to attract skilled workers to stay in Sonnenberg. Today the Haida’s run a mainly export business catering to doll makers. During the week of Puppenfestival, their large building is given over to a fleamarket that focuses on dolls, bears, dollhouses, and miniatures.
The town of Neustadt has been taken over by the huge doll and flea market the runs all through the main square and up and down the side streets. You will be surprised to see the high quality of dolls and toys at this market and many dealers from Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Italy attend this free market and the two-day show at the Neustadt Frankenhalle—a huge display of German bisque dolls, French dolls, a moderate amount of early china, wooden and wax dolls, doll supplies—also delicious bratwurst available at the restaurant in this showroom.
The Sonneberg Toy and Game Museum has reopened and fully renovated and we will spend a full day visiting this well-known doll and toy museum. End of Lynn’s notes.
Coburg is a beautiful small city, where Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, was born. This area was once the center of German doll-making and is still an area visited by doll-collectors from all over the world. We visited the Lesch Glass Eye factory, the HERMANN Teddy Bear factory and outlet, and a company making Santa figures for more than 100 years, a German Doll Doctor and his shop with so many doll parts for sale. On the way to Munich we toured the Kathe Kruse Doll Company in Donauworth.
On our final European Doll Tour we visited Italy and Germany. It was in Pompei and Venice where we realized that our leader, Lynn, was seriously ill. In Venice she had to be taken to a hospital in a boat where she received four transfusions of blood. Pat and I were very worried.
In Bologna we visited a brand new Doll Museum, which had not opened to the public yet. Lynn had heard about it from the curator, Marco Tosa. In the Foreword of the museum booklet, Marco writes:
Dolls have been preserved over time with a form of respect and care that is never encountered in other toys. . . . the thousands of dolls produced in Europe during the 19thcentury, by an industry that had a profound effect on the national economy of the manufacturing countries, reached such aesthetic perfection and sophisticated elegance that they are still considered amongst the best ever made.
LYNN MURRAY died this past summer of ovarian cancer and the future of the TLC Doll Tours is in doubt. Pat and I are so delighted we took Lynn’s fantastic tours—and we will never forget Lynn and her wonderfully informative, and fun tours.