The Paper Doll's House of Miss Sarah Elizabeth Birdsall Otis, Aged Twelve (Hardcover)

By Eric Boman

Thames & Hudson, 9780500650417, 80pp.

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

List Price: 30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

In 1884, a remarkable twelve-year-old girl made a paper doll's house. While these were fashionable enough at the time, they were usually drawn and painted. Miss Sarah Elizabeth Birdsall Otis, however, chose the medium of collage: scraps of wallpaper, gilded trim, colored-in cut-outs of furniture, and engravings from mail-order catalogs, all glued down unselfconsciously in book form with no regard for scale or realism. What makes the album so special is its creator's stunning, innate artistry. She also populated her house with paper dolls, their delightful cut-out costumes preserved in envelopes marked with the names of the characters and their accessories stored in paper squares marked "Hats and Bonnets" or "Umbrellas and Parasols." Eric Boman's photographs capture Miss Otis's vivid fantasy world in all its quirky splendor. Exploring the household, from the conservatory, parlor, and library to the dining room and bedrooms, the images portray a domain of astonishing color and aesthetic daring. Context is provided by period photographs depicting the era of Miss Otis's privileged Long Island life. The twelve-year-old girl grew up to become a formidable personality, a playwright, and a president of the Girl Scouts. Here, her youthful creativity is celebrated in a format guaranteed to appeal to adults and children alike.