Monday, October 20, 2008

Doubtful Guest Doll

Over the years, there have been a variety of stuffed dolls created in the likenesses of Edward Gorey characters. Some have been mass produced while others were hand sewn by Edward Gorey himself while he watched television. One of the most highly sought after stuffed creations is the limited edition Doubtful Guest doll.

At 13" tall, the Doubtful Guest is a perfect three dimensional embodiment of Gorey's unusual character from the book by the same name. Much time and effort went into the creation of these dolls and because they were made in very limited quantities, they can be quite difficult to find. Each doll was meticulously crafted with removable leather tennis sneakers and the DG's trademark striped scarf. Like the Doubtful Guest, Gorey himself went about draped in an enormous striped scarf in his college days.

Manufactured in the San Francisco area, Doubtful Guest dolls are hand signed and numbered by Mr. Gorey on a tag attached to the scarf (Gorey did not work on the construction of these dolls himself). The DG in my collection has a signed tag which is numbered C 5. There seems to be some confusion as to the exact signature sequence of the dolls which were made in more than one edition. Since my doll came from Gotham Book Mart, yet does not follow the numbering sequence set forth in Goreyography, I am still trying to find someone who knows precisely how many DG dolls were created and in which order.

My Doubtful Guest doll happily resides under a glass bell jar in my home in much the same way that Mr. Gorey so often illustrated stuffed curiosities in his works.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just saw your Doubtful Guest doll. I would just like to point out that what is written on the label is not, in fact C5, but O/S, which stands for "out of series". So, your doll is not one of the numbered ones, but perhaps one of the additional dolls that must have been made in the production run. It's value will be less, but what do you care, you're never going to sell it anyway, are you?!

ampootozote said...

When you click on posted photos while looking at the blog, you can see them larger. As you can see in the photo, Mr. Gorey's handwriting is pretty clearly C/5 and not O/S. When I purchased the doll from GBM, Andreas Brown had just returned from the San Fran Book Fair and acquired the doll while there. GBM stated that it was C/5 but were unsure of the exact sequencing. Since these dolls were created in the San Fran area, it is not too surprising to find an oddball piece in that area.

Simon said...

Thanks for correcting my guess. I've no idea what C/5 might mean, but I have heard that there were several versions of The Doubtful Guest doll in an attempt to get such details as the Converse sneakers correct, maybe the numbering reflects that?

ampootozote said...

I also still have no idea what C/5 means! Perhaps someone who knows the person who made the dolls will be able to put them in contact with me and I can get this figured out. I appreciate your comment/guess and hope you continue to enjoy checking out my postings.

Nelly Crowe said...

I've just completed my first attempt of The Doubtful Guest in doll form. In looking over your photograph of your doll I noticed some inconsistencies in the construction/design compared to illustrations in the book. Regarding the scarf, in the book I notice one end is in the dark stripe and the other end is knit in the lighter color. Your scarf has the light color on both ends, yes? in one of the illustrations I noticed the fringe of the scarf matches the color on the end. One end is fringed in the darker color and the other in the light. What's your read on this? I'm not being critical, only trying to stay true to Gorey. I made the doll as a gift for my 19 year old daughter who has been a Gorey fan since birth (well, close anyway.) Thanks for your assistance.

ampootozote said...

As you know from reading the posting, I did not create this doll - it was made under Mr. Gorey's supervision and approval in a limited edition. The correspondence regarding its creation has been donated by a collector to the Edward Gorey House, so they may have specific answers to your scarf color questions, but my guess is that it was just too much of a bother to make the ends different colors.

Vivian said...

Where did you get DG??? When I browsed the net looking at pictures of DG and saw your doll, I swooned.

Edward Ackerman said...

Would you or any of the other people who have commented be willing to make a doll like this and sell it to me? I would love to give one to my brother for Christmas! He has been enamored of The Doubtful Guest for about 35 years.

ampootozote said...

I am not aware of any stuffed Doubtful Guest dolls being licensed by the estate currently. You may want to look on etsy.com to see if anyone is making similar pieces.