UFDC is a Fan of R. John Wright!
Convention 2013 Artist Spotlight
Convention may be months away but our event artists and manufacturers are already hard at work. Each month UFDC is pleased to introduce you to the artists and companies whose work will be showcased at the meal events planned for Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America.
Christmas at the Taft White House
On the subject of William Howard Taft and Christmas, more than a few presidential historians have likened the large, jovial Taft to a Santa Claus-like figure. Few would deny that the burly Ohioan was a warm, generous and good man. Just before dawn on Christmas morning1909 snow began falling and gave Washington DC a White Christmas. The Taft’s celebrated Christmas simply; they opened gifts in the morning and shared a turkey dinner later. According to press reports, a 35–40 pound prize turkey, delivered by Horace Vose, the poultry king of Rhode Island, graced the table along with “Aunt Delia’s goodies.” The president’s Aunt Delia Torrey of Millbury, Massachusetts, always sent “Nephew Will” an eagerly anticipated package of apple pies, jellies, and jams made from fruit grown on the Torrey property. Then in the evening a giant mince pie (a nine-pounder that was three feet in diameter) was sliced and served. One of the President’s sons complained he had been served too small a piece.
President and Mrs. Taft enjoyed the bustle of downtown Christmas shopping with holiday crowds. On occasion the president slipped away from his Secret Service detail to stroll through the city. On Christmas Eve in 1911, the president and first lady secretly left the White House on foot to call on friends as a surprise. When the Secret Service discovered their absence, there was widespread panic. Chief John Wilkie and his men scurried all over town searching for them. Eventually, President Taft returned to the White House smiling broadly.
In 1909, the Taft’s son Robert, nineteen, was a junior at Yale, and Helen, seventeen, was a student at Bryn Mawr. Only their youngest child, Charles, eleven, lived with his parents year round at the White House. The Taft children were considered too old for a Christmas tree, but in 1912 while President and Mrs. Taft were away on an inspection of the Panama Canal, Robert and Helen hosted the family celebrations and held a Christmas tree party in the Blue Room for their young cousins. The huge tree decorated with baubles, toys, and thousands of electric lights, set a precedent for decorating a tree on the State Floor for guests. Although absent, President and Mrs. Taft provided gifts for friends and each employee of the White House received a fat turkey, a practice began by presidents in the nineteenth century.
“Ginger” -the 2012 RJW Christmas Mouse “Willoughby” – the 2012 RJW Christmas Bear
A Christmas Message from R. John and Susan Wright
Dolls and children’s book illustrations are intertwined throughout our 35 years of dollmaking. While reading to our four children when they were young, we became reacquainted with classic children’s literature. This inspired us in the early years of our career to design a doll of St. Exupery’s Little Prince. This was followed by Christopher Robin and the animals in the 100 Acre Wood. In the years to come, many other wonderful characters stepped out of their illustrations into our workshop including: Rose O’Neill’s Kewpies, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Beatrix Potter’s animals, Paddington Bear, Curious George, Becassine, Lewis Carroll’s Alice, Edith, The Lonely Doll, Palmer Cox’s Brownies, and many, many others. We are honored to continue this tradition of bringing children’s illustrative art to life at next year’s UFDC event featuring dolls based on the charming imagery of Susan Beatrice Pearse.
“The Little Prince” was produced by R. John Wright in 1983
For now, as Christmas draws near, we find ourselves immersed in producing a group of Japanese child dolls along with 2 delightful animals – a bear and a mouse! Hopefully many of these will find their way under Christmas trees as a wonderful holiday surprise.
The Children of Japan: ”Midori” and “Akira”
The Wright’s front door at Christmastime
Please accept our best wishes from our house to yours for a healthy and happy New Year. We look forward to seeing many of you in Washington next year.
About R. John and Susan Wright
R. John Wright is one of the most renowned and respected of all contemporary artists. Working together with his wife, Susan, and their dedicated team, the company has delighted collectors worldwide with beautifully designed and hand crafted dolls and animals. All are produced under the Wright’s direct supervision at the R. John Wright workshop located in Bennington, Vermont.
For the upcoming convention in Washington, UFDC is delighted that R. John Wright will be interpreting the captivating image shown here by Susan Beatrice Pearse (1878-1980) – an acclaimed British illustrator of children’s books. The R. John Wright ticketed events have proven to be enormously popular with UFDC’s collectors and the event in Washington DC will surely prove to be another convention highlight for those fortunate enough to attend.
“George & Martha” will be based on this illustration by Susan Beatrice Pearse
For more information about R. John Wright Dolls, Inc., please visit their website at www.r.johnwright.com.