Pollock’s Toy Museum is one among London’s most endearing small museums, a creaking Dickensian warren of wood flooring, low ceilings, threadbare carpets, and steep, winding stairs, housed in related townhouses. Its small rooms house a huge, haphazard series of antique and antique toys – tin automobiles and trains; board video games from the 1920s; figures of animals and people in timber, plastic, lead; paint-chipped and faintly dangerous-looking rocking horses; stuffed teddy bears from the early twentieth century; even – purportedly – a four hundred year vintage mouse customary from Nile clay.
And dolls. Dolls with “sleepy eyes”, with staring, glass eyes. Dolls with porcelain faces, with “real-to-existence” painted ragdoll faces, with mops of real hair atop their heads, with out a hair at all. One-hundred-and-fifty-year-vintage Victorian dolls, uncommon dolls with wax faces. Dolls with cheery countenances, dolls with stern expressions. Sweet dolls and vaguely sinister dolls. Skinny Dutch wood dolls from the quit of the 19th century, dolls in “conventional” jap or chinese dress. One glassed-off corner of a room is crammed with porcelain-confronted dolls in 19th-century clothing, sitting in antique version carriages and propped up in wrought iron bedsteads, as if in a miniaturized, overcrowded Victorian orphanage.