Book Reviews: Doll/Dollhouse book, Black Forest Woodcarvings

The latest book on miniature dolls and dollhouses covers the subject in a charming and comprehensive way.

Dollhouse and Miniature Dolls 1840-1990
by Marcie and Bob Tubbs is well prepared and extensive enough to thoroughly inform the reader.

In all more than 1,500 dolls are featured and illustrated in the book. Just about every material ever used in making such miniature dolls is represented including cardboard, celluloid, cloth, clothespin, composition, papier mache, plastic, porcelain, rubber, wax, and wooden.
Likewise the Tubbs have fully organized mountains of material starting with the Victorian era and continuing through the Roaring Twenties, the Depression Years, the Baby Boomer Years, the Space Age, and more.

Most of the hundreds of illustrated dolls are also given current marketplace values by the authors. The book also provides an extensive index.

Marcie Tubbs has adored dolls and dollhouses since her childhood in the early 1950s. Bob Tubbs is a retired attorney, amateur photographer and companion doll researcher with his wife. In preparing the book the Tubbs also wisely incorporated the talents of seasoned author Dian Zillner.

In the book’s introduction author Marcie Tubbs observes, “the book reads somewhat as a history text. It is the author’s belief that toys in general, and dolls in particular, reflect the social and economic treads of the time in which they were made. To understand the context of dolls, you need to understand the history of their times.”

Dollhouse and Miniature Dolls 1840-1990 by Marcie and Bob Tubbs, Schiffer Publishing, hardcover, color, with current values, 256 pages, $49.99.

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Black Forest Woodcarvings by Peter Blackman offers very wide coverage of this remarkable and enduring craft.

The book fully explores the rich tradition of Black Forest or Brienzerware woodcarving from early beginnings in the Swiss Alps village of Brienz. From its origins in the early 1800s the art form grew to touch many areas of Europe. Such surviving wares are notably collectible today.

Blackman’s volume provides more than 900 full color photographs of Black Forest woodcarvings in varying sizes and shapes. It also provides a detailed text of the fascinating history of this unique art.

Such woodcarving came to include various human forms as well as wildlife and domestic animals. The vastness of it covered in the books more than 900 full color photographs and illustrations.

In the book’s introduction author Blackman notes that Brienzerware itself can be subdivided according to many different principles.
Chapters in the comprehensive volume include the origins of the Brienzerware industry, major carving companies, carving schools, furniture, and finer décor.

Blackman, an attorney and historical researcher who has extensively studied Black Forest woodcarvings, explains “my text is given over primarily to the history of the Brienzerware industry. My larger purpose is to make the individual carvings as not merely a pretty yet static object but also as the repository of a story, if not multiple story lines.”

Black Forest Woodcarvings by Peter Blackman, Schiffer Publishing, hard cover, color, 304 pages, $99.99.

Book reviews by Robert Reed, Antique and Collectible News Service, PO Box 204, Knightstown, IN 46148.