Col of teddy bears and dolls
Lot 174
'The Swarbrick Nun' a fine and very rare early English wooden doll, circa 1680 This doll has many similarities to other examples of wooden dolls of this period, the most famous being Lord and Lady Clapham at the Victoria and Albert museum in London
Sold for £30,000 (US$ 46,245) inc. premium

Lot Details
'The Swarbrick Nun' a fine and very rare early English wooden doll, circa 1680
The carved wooden gesso covered head with simply painted dark brown eyes with white dots, upper lashes and painted arched eye brows with upper strokes, carved nose and strongly carved mouth with red painted lips, nostrils and rouged cheeks, the gesso covered torso tapering at the waist with rounded hips and jointed at the hips and knees held by hidden pegs, lower legs painted in black with block feet, cloth upper arms with carved wooden fore arms and well carved splayed hands with long forked fingers, wearing original clothes of stiffened cotton wimple, black wool gauze veil, hand woven woolen habit, two petticoats, one in course weave blue wool, the other of a lighter weave cream wool, in her original wooden box. (gesso very slightly lifting at outer corner of left eye and across the top of the forehead under cowl, part of the wool habit has been replaced with light net) 37cm (14 1/2in) tall.
The first verifiable and recorded date at which the existence of this doll is acknowledged is 1680 when it was returned to England in its current clothing and wooden box by Father James Swarbrick, a Jesuit priest and brother of the girl who had owned it.
James Swarbrick and his sister had been smuggled out of England as younge children to be educated at Cardinel Allen's Seminary at Douai, France and later in Rome. His sister dressed her doll to show her mother and younger sister, at home in England, the habit of the Order that she now wore. Her brother carried it back to their family at Swarbrick Hall near Singleton, Lancashire in 1680. He returned as a Jesuit missionary priest to the mission of Thurnham and Fylde and was known as 'The Riding Priest'.
After the Jacobite uprising he and his brother in-law, Richard Gillow (ancestor of the Gillow family of furniture makers), where seized and thrown into Lancaster castle where James died under torture in August 1716 before he could be executed. He was then over seventy-two years of age. Richard Gillow died in Preston jail aged seventy-seven. They later became Lancashire martyrs.
The Rev James Swarbrick and Richard Gillow are recorded in 'The Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics' Vol. 2 by Joseph Gillow.
(This doll has many similarities to other examples of wooden dolls of this period, the most famous being Lord and Lady Clapham at the Victoria and Albert museum in London)
Activities
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