My first Roche doll
On a visit to England over 25 years ago I traveled
to Bath to see the sites including the Assembly
Rooms which house a costume museum.
One of the things I love most about the Brits.
They never throw anything away. When they save
enough of something, they open a museum.
Trains, antique plumbing fixtures, complete streets
of old shops, farm life, carriages, cars, planes, jails
and anything else one can think of and plenty
Closest to my heart, genuine old garments and accessories.
Many with historical associations and some represented
in portraits worn by the original owners. Then there are
The Assembly Rooms, Bath
Off I went, map in hand through honey colored Bath.
Found the Pump Room and the Roman Baths.
Then off to find the Assembly Rooms.
All the time thinking - Jane Austin. Its her town.
Walked a bit too far along Walcot St. parallel to the
River Avon and became a little lost. On my left a tiny
shop window with doll house miniatures.
Wrong street maybe, but definitely up my alley.
Went in and was greeted by a friendly young man in
the small front room. Near the window, a table of heart
touchingly beautiful dolls. Porcelain heads, pretty hand
painted faces, blond, brunette and ginger pigtails.
Articulated arms and legs, wearing smocked Liberty of
London print dresses and delicate hand knit cardigans.
In the next room, a dark haired young woman sewing dolls
clothes. (The job of my dreams.) Took a while to choose
the right doll. Carried on my lap the entire flight back to
Philadelphia. So went my introduction to Lynne and
Michael Roche, Dollmakers extraordinaire. Early days
of their spectacular collaboration.
Now, internationally recognized Masters of their craft.
See for yourself at http://www.roche-dolls.co.uk/
Lynne and Michael Roche (with permission)
The following year, I made a bee line back to Bath. So looking
forward to another visit and another doll. But the shop door
was locked! A note on the window told me they were in New
York City at the toy fair. Aaahhhh!! Slipped a card under the
door bearing greetings and disappointment (tears couched
Found some of their dolls in London at The General Trading Co.
in Sloan St and in a Burlington Arcade Shop. Naturally, prices
had doubled. But that didn't stop me. My sister in law, Debbie
had asked for one also.
Sent the Roches a copy of Goldie The Dollmaker, by M.B. Goffstein.
For a number of years, they sent copies of their handmade catalogue.
The book, A Celebration of Enchantment, by Barbara
Spadaccini-Day, celebrates their 25th anniverary (2005)
as superb Doll Makers.
My assistant, Fred E. Cat helping
set up the shot.