Aug 15 2011

Annette Himstedt: A Cinderella Story

Aschenputtel - Cinderella doll by Annette Himstedt

Aschenputtel - 2003 vinyl doll by Annette Himstedt

For her 2003 vinyl collection,  doll artist Annette Himstedt brought to life a fairy tale of renown. Her two dolls, Aschenputtel and Cinderella, bring to life the classic fairy tale. Aschenputtel is from the version by the German brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The story is called Aschenputtel after the German name for Cinderella. Annette based her first doll on this story:

A rich gentleman’s wife lay dying, and she called her only daughter, the Cinderella figure, to her bedside. She asked the daughter to remain kind and generous, and God will protect her. She then died and was buried. Within the year, the widower married another woman, who had two beaitiful yet evil daughters. The stepsisters forced the girl to become a kitchen maid, stripping her of her fine clothes and possessions. Despite their cruelty, the girl remained pure in heart, and wept daily by her mother’s grave.

One day, the gentleman visits the city, promising his stepdaughters gifts of luxury. His own daughter merely asks for the first twig to knock his hat off on the way. She plants the twig, waters it with her tears and over the years, it grows into a silver birch tree. In its branches lives a dove, which comforts the girl during her misery.

The king gives a festival for three nights, and each time the girl retreats to the graveyard to ask for help. The dove presents her with gowns of gold and silver, but always leaving before the last strike of midnight. The Prince falls in love with her and threads off one of her golden shoes, but the sisters tried to trick the Prince by cutting off parts of their feet. The doves living on the tree alert the Prince to their treachery, and in the end during Aschenputtel’s wedding the birds fly down and strike the two sisters blind for the rest of their lives.

- source Wikipedia

Annette Himstedt’s Aschenputtel includes a dove (made of clay) as well as a bowl of peas. She is a beautiful doll a little over 36 inches tall. As the working maid for the house, Aschenputtel wears a pink scarf atop her hair and a ragged dress. Aschenputtel shares the same head mold as Cinderella so the transformation from poor scullery maid to princess is almost magical. More about Cinderella to come.

The Toy Shoppe in Richmond, Virginia, still has Aschenputtel by Annette Himstedt for sale. According to their web site, when Annette closed her manufactory, The Toy Shoppe worked with Annette to represent the pieces from her personal collection as well as her Artist’s Proofs. As of this writing, they still have a vinyl edition available as well as  Artist Proof 1/1 of Aschenputel by Annette Himstedt.