Anne has been very passionate about dolls and their place in her life, and this passion shines through when she is engaged in a discussion where dolls are center-stage. Not only has Anne collected dolls for over twenty years, but dolls have been central figures in several of her renowned books including "Interview With a Vampire" and "Taltos". Recently, Anne decided to sell her fine antique doll collection at a Theriault's auction in Chicago on July 18, 2010.
Started Collecting In The 1980s
Although Anne had loved dolls her whole life, she started collecting dolls in the 1980s, and like many collectors, Anne collected dolls in two stages. First, she collected inexpensive dolls, and later, the more expensive French antique and artist dolls. "I began collecting dolls on a whim," said Anne. "I was driving through Louisiana and there was a country stand with soft cloth dolls, and I fell in love with them." She bought a few of these dolls, and they became the first dolls in her collection.
French Antique Dolls
In the beginning of her collecting life, Anne's resources were limited. Then, in the 1990s, when she lived in New Orleans, Anne was finally able to afford more expensive dolls. "I had means to collect the antique French dolls which I had admired, read about, and studied in books for many years," said Anne. Her first expensive antique doll was a Bru doll, from Celia's Dolls. This Bru doll was the beginning of Anne's high-end doll collecting, and she was also featured as the Bru doll owned by Lasher in Anne's "Taltos" book.
Over 1000 Dolls: Bru, Jumeau And Sharing With The Public
At the height of Anne's collection, she estimates that she owned over 1000 dolls, both antique and new "although," said Anne thoughtfully, "I never really counted." For many years, Anne housed many of these dolls at St. Elizabeth's in New Orleans, a large former convent orphanage where she shared her doll collection with the public, through tours and fund-raisers. Many of the more inexpensive dolls (including many nun dolls, dressed in various nun and sister of charity outfits) were sold previously around the time that Ann sold St. Elizabeth's, through the Anne Rice Doll Shop and also online.
During the second phase of Anne's collecting life, she collected many Bru and Jumeau dolls--the very best of antique French dolls. "I liked the child dolls, the little girl dolls the best, " said Anne, "although I did have one or two French Fashion dolls as well." Anne was especially partial to better Bru dolls, and very big dolls, although her collection contains Bru dolls of all sizes.
During this period, Anne also collected artist dolls. She "fell in love with the dolls of Edna Dali which I first saw in the Oh, Susanna doll shop on Jackson Square in New Orleans." Anne also collected and loved the dolls of Anna Abigail Brahms (Edna Dali's mentor), Nancy Wiley, Monica, Brigette Duval, and others. "At one time, my publisher gave me a Liz Shaw doll of a character from my books, at the publication of each of my novels," said Anne. These dolls, which include Lestat from "Interview With a Vampire", will also be sold at the Theriault's auction.
Decision To Sell The Collection Was Difficult
Anne's decision to sell the dolls was difficult, but Anne felt the time was right. She said that her decision to sell the collection boiled down to two reasons. First, she was no longer actively collecting. Second, "I couldn't share the dolls with the public any longer. For many years, dolls were displayed at the St. Elizabeth's orphanage where I could share them with the world, displayed in a giant room. Proceeds form the exhibition when to a local charity"said Anne. Anne also gave tours of the French antique dolls displayed in her home to the Junior League and other groups at Christmas.
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