The Estelle Johnston Collection, Part II - October 1-2, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona

A Marquis Antique Doll Auction | Saturday, October 1, 2016
And Sunday, October 2nd At The Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona

The Estelle Rose Johnston Collection of Important Dolls from the 18th and Early 19th Century

Her full name was Estelle Dallas Rose Lawson Johnston and she lived a remarkable 87 years, filled with curiosity and zest for many things. Other than family, mostly her passion was for her doll collection which she began in the late 1950s, and which took her in search of treasures throughout the world, tracking down old closed museums and forgotten collectors. It was the history of the dolls that attracted her most, as each had a story to tell, she knew. Her many friends in the doll world knew this about her, too. In a 1994 Contemporary Doll Collector article, “The Amazing Collections of Estelle Johnston” written by John Darcy Noble, he wrote “ ‘Research!’ she once said to me, her blue eyes sparkling, ‘Research is the delight of my life! What is the point of owning these delectable objects, unless you learn all you can about them?’ ”  VIEW THE AUCTION ONLINE
The title of this auction of her dolls, borrowed from the title of an article which she herself had written for Doll Reader in 1986, perfectly expresses her love of lady dolls. When Theriault’s auctioned Part I of her collection in 2013, few people knew that Estelle had preserved many of her favorite dolls to accompany her on the move from her grand Atlanta manse to a cottage overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But, oh the dolls she kept! Extraordinary lady dolls from the 18th century— Grodnertal woodens, French carton moule, English woodens, Italian court dolls - from rare grand sizes to those so petite that they were surely made for early doll houses. For Estelle it was the construction, body, and costume of the doll that was of equal importance to the face, and she made a decades-long study in fashion, textiles, needlework and costume, all of which are splendidly reflected in her collection. Her passion for lady dolls extended to the exquisite bisque poupées of mid-century 19th century France, and includes fine examples by Huret and Rohmer, among others. As well, rare lady dolls of porcelain kept her companion including examples by KPM and Schlaggenwald.

Collectors of beautiful French bébés will also find great treasures including choice dolls from Thuillier, Bru, Jumeau, Steiner and Schmitt, each exquisitely costumed. Her interest in the child doll with articulated body had first been awakened by learning of the Japanese ichimatsu articulated play doll introduced to the Western society at the 1851 London World Fair, then began her on a quest for the early German and French taufling babies that had been inspired by this event, and eventually brought her, full circle, back to the Japanese play dolls themselves—all of which are represented in this auction. 

The tiniest doll ephemera attracted Estelle, and her collection is replete with outstanding accessories including fans, parasols, jewelry, gloves, purses, toiletries, necessaires—right down to an incredibly rare 2” porcelain bourdaloue. Other delights include doll furniture, miniature paintings, fabulous sewing boxes with luxury contents, boxed tea services and toiletry sets, early fashion books and engravings, 18th century textiles, an early 17th century stumpwork embroidery panel, and very fine real people costumes including an extraordinary silk gown, circa 1875, from the House of Worth.

Every collection finds itself in the possession of a rarity that seems incongruous. In the Estelle Johnston collection, it is her pair of American cloth dolls by Roxanna Cole. Incongruous, of course, only until one realizes that the dolls were gifts from Roxanne Cole herself to the young girls, Sally and Laura Harton, who grew up to become the mother-in-law and aunt-in-law of, who else, but Estelle Johnston to whom they were bequeathed. The dolls, together their entire life, will be sold as a pair along with other important documents and memorabilia from the Cole family, including a full-size silk embroidered quilt also made by Roxanna Cole.

There are over 450 lots in this important auction. Saturday, October 1, will present 300 cataloged lots, to be followed by an additional 150 cataloged lots on Sunday, October 2. Bidding is available by absentee or live telephone or internet bidding at the time of the auction. The Sunday catalog session will be followed by another 150 lots of Discovery Day dolls. 

All of the treasures of the Estelle Johnston collection are presented in a 200+ page catalog with full color photos of each lot along with complete descriptions, many with references to articles in which the collector wrote of her dolls.


Commemorative Auction Catalogs are available for $59. Call 410-224-3655 to order or click here.

Hotel Information
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel is located at 2400 E Missouri Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85016. For hotel reservations for The Arizona Biltmore call 602-955-6600 for the group rate. For auction information call Theriault’s at 800-638-0422 or online at www.theriaults.com. 

Ways To Bid
For those collectors who cannot attend the auctions, absentee bidding, live telephone bidding, or live internet bidding is also available. The auction can be viewed at www.theriaults.com (click on the button for Online Bidding) after Sept. 15. For more information about the auctions visit www.theriaults.com, email info@theriaults.com, or call 800-638-0422.