She is selling her late mother’s dolls and teddy bears, which were left to her and her sister Lize Carron, at toy specialists Vectis Auctions of Thornaby, Stockton on Tees, on July 21.
The Rachel Karslake Devon Doll Museum Collection is an ensemble of pieces amassed over several decades which includes bisque dolls, composition and felt, dolls’ clothes, shoes and accessories, dolls’ houses, room scenes, miniatures and furniture, books, magazines, as well as teddy bears, Noah's Ark and animals and ephemera.
Vectis say: “The sale also reflects Rachel's love of sewing and dressmaking. She had always made clothes for her four children and famously created bikinis and dresses for Jo to wear in her early modelling career.
“Her exquisite needlework lent itself to recreating exemplary scaled down versions of early French and German fashions for her dolls. There is a large quantity of vintage fabrics, lace, leather, white work, trimmings, ribbon and wonderful tools such as the smocking machine.”
Karslake spent many hours poring over London auction house catalogues, contacting dealers and visiting antique markets in the 1960s and ‘70s when many of the items were more accessible. Her tastes were widespread, resulting in offerings from Bru, Lenci, Jumeau, Kathe Kruse, Armand Marsaille and Deans.
After her husband died, she threw herself completely into her interest, opening the Devon Doll Museum to display her compilation, giving a place for collectors to gather together and also offering doll-making and accessory classes.