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REVIEW: The Black Doll

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Background

A life-long friend of Edward Gorey's made The Black Doll for him in 1942. Gorey visited her while she was making it, and upon seeing it insisted on keeping it in its unfinished state, lacking a face, arms and clothing. In spite of her objection, Edward Gorey prevailed. It may be the first recorded instance of Gorey's enduring dedication to engaging the imagination. The incomplete Black Doll has remained a recurring enigma for almost 70 years appearing in many of Gorey's books and drawings as well as being the subject of his silent screenplay. This is the first time The Black Doll has been produced for Edward Gorey's devoted following.

Apparently, the project took several years to complete. Since Edward Gorey passed away in 2000, Necessaries Toy Foundation had to deal with his estate. Also, they wanted to get the production of this piece absolutely perfect. Long Gone John of NTF calls the release of The Black Doll “possibly (his) proudest moment with Necessaries Toy Foundation”.

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The Facts



Edward Gorey's The Black Doll
Manufacturer: Necessaries Toy Foundation
Artist: Edward Gorey
Prototype: Purple Flavor (Shane Geil and Jenifer Vidaurreta)
Material: Plush - Felt
Dimensions: 13.5” tall
Edition Size: 2,000 pieces
Pricing: $45.00

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Packaging

For years now, Necessaries Toy Foundation has been producing some of the best packaging in the vinyl toy universe. But with their first plush release, they've produced what could be considered the best plush packaging ever.

The large rectangular box features an illustration of the Black Doll on the top, with illustrated scenes on each end. There's also the above rewritten background story on the side of the lid.

Inside, the plush sits on a bed of red shredded paper. There is also a postcard-sized insert that details some of the Black Doll production information and character history.

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Our Opinion

My first thought when seeing The Black Doll was “Oh...that's it?” The plush looks very simple. It's just a body, head and two legs. The legs are stitched on to the body, and The Black Doll is, well, completely black. There is the white vinyl transfer Edward Gorey signature on one of The Black Doll's legs.

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Even though the design is simple, Necessaries Toy Foundation made sure they had plush experts (Purple Flavor) involved with the project. And more importantly, all of the materials used are of high quality and the stitching is near perfect. That's key because The Black Doll is very asymmetrical (as you can see when looking at the illustrated version).

So why does The Black Doll plush run $45? A lot of that is due to the presentation. The packaging tells a story. If The Black Doll was simply tagged, I'd say it's a $15 piece. But NTF knows that a lot of collectors like a well-presented toy. And if there's anything that Necessaries is well-known for, it's their packaging acumen.

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This piece will appeal to fans of Edward Gorey's illustrated books and gothic artwork . Since this is the first collectible toy that I have ever seen from the late artist, I feel that his hardcore fan base will ultimately want to own a Black Doll plush. But the simpleness of the plush and beautiful packaging might appeal to your ordinary plush collector.

For wholesale inquiries, contact DKE Toys.

You can pick one up at:

GoreyStore.com: $45.00

NTF Black Doll Grades
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