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02 January 2013

Frozen Charlotte Dolls

A few days ago I went to an antiques/second hand thrift shop looking out for new books to read during this winter holidays. I got 2 books from Christian Jacq about Egypt called "The Black Pharaoph" and "The women of ancient Egypt" which is a great find for an Ancient Egypt lover like me!
Anyway, while I was waiting in line at the checkout I was immediately attracted by a little collection of little glazed porcelain dolls exposed nearby. They were a collection of rare FROZEN CHARLOTTE DOLLS and their history is very interesting:


"Frozen Charlotte" commonly refers to a doll, made from either china or bisque with immovable or "frozen" limbs, manufactured from about 1850 to 1920. The dolls ranged in size from an inch to 18 inches or more, and being charms in Christmas puddings, or occupants for doll houses, were amongst their many uses. 

The name is believed to have originated from an American folk ballad called 
Fair Charlotte or Young Charlotte, by William Lorenzo Carter. The song was based upon a poem called A Corpse Going to a Ball, by Seba Smith, written around 1843. The poem and ballad are cautionary tales, thought to pertain to a true incident, about a girl called Charlotte who ignored her mother's request to cover her fine clothes with a blanket, and then froze to death on a snowy sleigh ride to a ball with her intended husband. The story was meant to discourage such vanity in young women. 


photograph by Kalliope Amorphous


This is part of the ballad:

They reached the place and Charles jumped out and held his hands for her, 


"Why sit you there like a monument, have you no power to stir?" 

He asked her once, he asked her twice; she answered not a word. 


He asked her for her hand again, and yet she never stirred.


He took her hands within his own -- oh, God, they were cold as stone. 


He tore the mantle from her brow, the cold stars on her shone. 


Then quickly to the lighted hall her lifeless form he bore; 


Young Charlotte was a frozen corpse and never spoke no more.


He sat himself down by her side, and the bitter tears did flow, 


He said, "My dear intended bride, I never more shall know."

He threw his arms around her neck and kissed her marble brow

And his thoughts went back to the place where she said, "I'm getting warmer now."


He put the corpse into the sleigh and quickly hurried home, 


And when he reached the cottage door, oh, how her parents mourned! 


They mourned for the loss of their daughter dear, and young Charlie mourned for his bride, 


He mourned until his heart did break, and they slumber side by side.



A great collection of this rare dolls has been found in the ruins of an old doll factory that operated between 1890 and 1913 in Thuringia, Germany. That makes them over 100 years old! 



info taken from: littlegothichorrors.blogspot.com & speckled-egg.blogspot.com
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