Jill Bennett has been drawing and painting all her life. As a child she wanted to be a children's book illustrator and indeed she worked as one for many years. Among the authors she has illustrated are Roald Dahl, Dorothy Edwards, Dick King-Smith and Helen Cresswell. Jill is currently illustrating again and there are several children's picture books in progress, including a re-work of 'Beauty and the Beast' and some in homorus cartoon style.
Her other great love is the theatre. She studied theatre design at Wimbledon School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. So began a lifetime study of historical clothes and the way of life of the people who wore them.
. Jill started making dolls in the late 1970's and found they were an ideal vehicle for her three great interests - story telling, the theatre and social history. Over the next three decades Jill's miniature dolls found thier way into collections and museums all over the world. A retrospective exhibition in 2007 'Mrs Gosoftly Presents' showcased the imaginative storytelling aspects of both her dollmaking and illustration work (see Jill's News). Jill decided to stop taking orders for new dolls in 2012, she knew that her eyes could no longer withstand the prolonged strain of fine detail required by the miniature scale. Existing dolls continue to be offered for sale from this website until the stock room is empty.
By clicking on the boxes on the right you will find 'Dolls in Period' this shows a historical, educational and entertaining selection of Jill's dolls in historical order. In 'Jill Bennett' section you will find further information on her illustration, story telling and other loves.
More about the dolls:
Jill endeavoured to make each doll a person, with individual personality and clothes to match, whether they are aristocrat, servant or street urchin. Jill Bennett's dolls were small, 1 inch to the foot (1/12th scale is the international scale for dolls houses). But from time to time she did made slightly larger feature dolls up to 9 inches high.
The miniature dolls have porcelain heads and pewter bodies strung through with twisted steel wire at the joints. This gives them considerable flexibility to stand or sit or adopt other poses. (They will stand without support.)
The larger dolls have porcelain heads, hands and feet. Their bodies are padded and wired to give some flexibility.
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