Matilda – A Girl for All Time

I am very excited and happy to present this “British Girl” doll to you! Finally! Something I have been thinking about for quite a while myself (mostly just dreaming of it since I am not a doll artist and therefore there was nothing I could do about it!). I am so happy somebody else has come up with the same idea!!

Why? Well, because my daughters (and especially my eldest one) LOVE American Girl dolls. They love their stories. My 10-year-old has a huge collection of books about historical American Girl dolls and she has fallen in love with history (as much as her parents love it!). The problem is the history she is learning is all American, and she is… well, yes, British. And the only English girl among American Girl dolls that I can think of is Emily (incidentally, a book about Emily was the first one that I gave to my daughter to read and it was from Emily’s story that my daughter’s interest in American Girl started). And while American history is fascinating, we would love her to get really interested in the glorious British history. Now she will!!

A Girl for All Time is the answer!! The concept is, in a way, similar to that of an American Girl doll: to teach girls history (English, in this case) while playing with beautiful dolls.

girl of all times

There are currently three dolls: Matilda, Amelia and Clementine. Matilda is a 13-year-old Tudor girl, Amelia is a 12-year-old Victorian girl and Clementine is a 12-year-old girl from the 1940s (WWII). Judging by the Family Tree on the website and by what I have managed to find on various websites, there will be three more dolls soon: Sophia the Georgian Girl and Olivia the Restoration Girl should be released in 2014 and Elinor the Elizabethan Girl – in 2015. We really look forward to seeing those!

As I understand from the company’s statement, they chose these particular periods of English history because that’s what children are learning at school at this age (and indeed, in Year 4 – Year 6 children study these very periods – my daughter will be having a Victorian Day in her school later this year!).

Books with stories can be purchased separately (for Matilda and Amelia, so far). All six dolls belong to the same family tree and Matilda is an ancestor of all of them. There is a very sweet story about the key that Matilda is wearing on her neck, but I shall not disclose it now.

Now, to our Matilda. My eldest daughter actually liked the blonde Victorian girl Amelia, while my younger one preferred Matilda. I myself chose Matilda because I like long dark hair and am very interested in that historical period.

So, she is 16-inch / 41 cm tall which makes her slightly smaller than similar dolls on the market: American Girl dolls are 18 inch / 46 cm tall and much chubbier, Gotz dolls are 19.5-inch / 50 cm tall and Carpatina and Kidz’n’Cats dolls are 18-inch / 46 cm tall and also slim. However, unlike American Girl dolls and like Kidz’n’Cats and some of Gotz dolls Matilda is jointed! She has joints in her elbows and knees. They are very similar in construction to jointed Gotz dolls.

Matilda Marchmont is a Tudor Girl from 1540. I have not read her story yet as the book that has just arrived together with the doll (I bought both stories – one about Matilda and the other one about Amelia) was immediately expropriated by my 10-year-old daughter. She loves it and keeps carrying it around with her (even to school!). I just have to wait for my turn, I guess. From what my daughter says and from what I have read here and there while scanning through the book, it is a much more grown-up and serious book than stories from American Girl. The author of the books is a well-known screen-writer Sandra Goldbacher (she adapted Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes for a recent BBC film with Emma Watson). But these books seem to show real history which is really fascinating even though it may be scary sometimes. Just to mention that Matilda’s second cousin was infamous Anna Boleyn, and in this story Matilda goes to Henry VIII’s Court to become a Maid-Of-Honour to the Queen Anne of Cleves together with her other cousin, Katherine Howard…

Matilda arrived in a really beautiful box. I usually don’t take photographs of dolls’ packaging, but this time I couldn’t resist – it was so special!

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Matilda is dressed in a gorgeous velvet Tudor Court dress with fur sleeves and a french hood. I really liked the quality of the outfit and the attempt to make it as authentic as possible on a play doll scale.

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The outfit has multiple layers – cotton shift and pantaloons, organza petticoat and also socks and velvet shoes. The dress has separate skirt and top. What really impressed me is that only snaps are used for fastening – there is no velcro!

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I love Matilda’s hair. It is very realistic. It may not be as thick as some dolls’ hair, but, actually, for the first time I found it easy to make realistic looking hairstyles with it! For example, I tried a hairstyle of my favourite 1830s (a la Jane Eyre) and it worked! The bun was just the right size, not too large as it would be with very thick hair. And the hair is exquisitely long and silky and goes down to Matilda’s knees! It is a wig, of course.

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I also love Matilda’s vinyl. It has a velvety feel and the colour is lovely – just perfect for a period girl! I find that her head can easily be moved into different positions – in fact, I don’t think I have ever experienced such a delightful ease of head movement in any of the dolls before – either play dolls or BJDs.

Matilda’s joints remind me of the joints that Gotz company introduced in 2012. Arms can turn around for more natural poses and can bend at about 90 degrees – she can cover her face and eyes with her hands, for example. The knee joints don’t bend that much but legs can also be turned around, so the doll looks pretty natural when she sits.

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With Gotz doll Emily and Kidz’n’Cats doll Grace.And here is how Matilda compares with other similar dolls.

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With American Girl doll Saige.

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So, what will happen next? No doubt, soon we will welcome more dolls from this lovely company in our house! My daughter is asking for Amelia and also we are anxiously waiting for the release of the next doll. I wonder who she will be – Olivia, Sophie or Elinor?

And yes, I am already deep in my books on Tudor costumes (The Tudor Tailor and The Tudor Child) – I am really looking forward to making something special for my Matilda!

PS. These dolls are very easy to buy from either the UK shop or the US one. International delivery is available from the UK and is very efficient (I honestly didn’t expect to receive the doll within just a few days of placing an order!!). The company also has a Facebook page.

22 thoughts on “Matilda – A Girl for All Time

  1. What an interesting doll! I love how different she is from AG. Love the smaller size, all-vinyl construction and jointed body and very unique face sculpt! Beautiful dress too! And the best part-your kids will be learning history while playing with these dolls! Hope to see more girls from A Girl for All Time line in your blog!

    1. Thank you. I really love this doll and am not at all sure we will be able to resist the temptation of buying all of them eventually! As far as I can see all three faces are different which is lovely. I love that they are slightly smaller than AG and Gotz (space, space!!). And believe me, Matilda looks even better in person! Photographs don’t do her justice.

      I have just realized that the periods for the dolls were also chosen carefully: English children study them at school!! In Year 4 they learn about the Tudors (sadly, our British International school changed it last year – I was really looking forward to it, but instead my daughter had an Ancient China Day), in Year 5 – about Victorian England (we will be having a Victorian Day later this year, and I am making my daughter a dress from the 1860s), and in Year 6 – WWII (they’ve recently had their VE Day).

  2. Очень интересно познакомиться с новой куклой. Это несомненная удача авторов. Думаю, эти куколки завоюют не только Англию. Мне, например, очень хочется Клементину. Хотелось бы ещё почитать книги на русском языке 🙂 Да, жалко, что у нас не подхватили эту идею. Только для этого нужно любить и знать свою историю. А русские, почему то, стесняются за свою страну и плохо знают историю.
    Куколки очень симпатичные, очень хочется подержать в руках

    1. Спасибо, Марина! Удача однозначная! Они уже завоевывают Америку! А куколок ты скоро обязательно подержишь в руках. Очень жалко, что ничего подобного нет в России. Современное поколение совершенно не знает своей истории, и это очень печально. Куклы могли бы помочь восстановить к ней интерес. Хотя… бывая каждый год в России, я заметила, что девочки 10 лет по-прежнему играют с пупсами, а вовсе не с куклами-девочками. Какая уж тут история…

      1. Дети сейчас вообще мало играют, больше в интернете сидят и телевизор смотрят. И хотят то, что показывают в рекламе. А рекламы про игрушки нет. Все больше про другое. Вот сейчас достают с Сиалексом и глюкометрами 🙂

  3. Спасибо, Оленька, что знакомишь нас с новинками кукольного мира!!! Девочки интересные!!!
    Хотя на мой взгляд могли бы уж рост чуть побольше сделать, но это только моё мнение.

    1. Леночка, спасибо! Ты знаешь, на самом деле, у них чудесный рост. Совершенно такой же, кстати, как у Саш и Наттерерок. Очень удобный и вовсе не мелкий. Она одного формата с моей Ольгой от Наттерер.

  4. Какие интересные девочки! Для меня пока Матильда – вне конкуренции))) Живое, необычное лицо, а продуманность и аккуратность аутфита – просто на высоте.

    1. Лара, спасибо! Вот и у меня Матильда вне конкуренции. Мне очень нравится у нее овал лица и серые глаза в сочетании с длиннющими темными волосами…

  5. С интересом прочла про новенькую . Хорошенькие девочки и здорово, что ты сразу сделала фото с уже знакомыми куклами. Мне блондинка приглянулась

    1. Таня, мне тоже сначала приглянулась блондинка… Пока я не увидела Матильду. Я уверена, что блондинка Амелия у нас тоже поселится. И, возможно, и Клементина тоже – мне она нравится все больше и больше.

  6. Оля, действительно, как здорово, что производители кукол в Штатах и Великобритании думаю о развитии детей, а не только о том, как развести родителей на деньги. Спасибо, что рассказала так подробно об этой серии. Девочки очаровательны. Матильда покорила меня своими волосами и ручками. Наличие нижней одежды особо располагает к этой серии. История у Матильды очень трогательная. Буду с интересом следить за следующими куколками, которые у тебя появятся.
    А какой наряд ты сшила дочери в школу? Какой-то реальный наряд брала за основу?

    1. Оля, я очень рада, что Матильда тебе понравилась. Ко мне на днях приехала… вторая Матильда! Поедет к моей маме работать моделью. Я планирую собрать всех кукол этой компании (лишь бы их не стало слишком много, но пока планируется всего 6).

      Наряд дочке я еще не сшила. Но уже раскроила. Я шью его вот по этой выкройке, параллельно частично его изменяя: https://www.etsy.com/sg-en/transaction/154808469? . Это платье начала 1860-х. Викторианский день будет в конце февраля.

      1. Поздравляю со второй Матильдой 🙂 !

        Такое хорошенькое платье! Легкой тебе работы над ним http://www.daisy-dolls.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif А какие цвета выбрала? На голову что-то планируется?

        1. Оля, спасибо. Цвет платья – клетка сине-зеленая с черным. На голову ничего не планирую, только прическу попытаюсь сделать. И вообще по ходу решила упростить все же платье, т.к. это на один раз всего. Жалко, что на куклу, скорее всего, ткани не останется.

          1. Ну почему на один раз? У младшей дочки тоже ведь будет когда-то викторианский день 😉 Или можно будет его продать потом.
            Да, жаль. Было бы здорово – дочка и Амелия в одинаковых платьях

            1. у младшей должен быть тоже такой день. Другое дело, что она другого размера в этом возрасте будет. Она прилично мельче моей старшей. Ушивать придется. Я еще посмотрю, что останется. Я юбку платья еще не раскраивала. На верх кусков хватило было, а вот на юбку…

              1. В крайнем случае, если не продастся и ничего не придумается, потом можно будет разобрать это платье и сшить что-то для куколок 😉

  7. I hope that AGAT still does the Elinor and Olivia dolls, even though the company wants to do modern dolls in the future. I’d love to see and get to purchase an Olivia, as the English Restoration gets so little attention, from both fashion historians and dolls.

    1. Hi Cindy, the company is not by any means moving from the historical dolls – those are what make them special. The fact that they will be adding a line of modern dolls doesn’t change the fact that they are a company that produces gorgeous historical dolls! So, I am sure we will see both Elinor and Olivia (even if they change names – Lydia was supposed to be named Sophia!). And perhaps even more than that.

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