I've used 'The History of Little Fanny' in the second of my 'Charity School' series because it was published just in time for little Lucy to be given it as a gift by her father, when he returned from war and tracked her down.
I've long been a collector of dolls, including paper dolls, and I was delighted to discover this first ever cut-out-and-dress doll as early as 1810! It differs from later dolls in the tradition, in that the head is slotted into whole body costumes, rather than being a doll in undergarments with other clothes folded on top, but it was quite revolutionary for its time. The history itself is terribly pi and moralising, and not especially realistic, and in 'Ophelia's Opportunity', Lucy loves the doll and decides to make up her own stories that are better than the one told.
Little Fanny is a disobedient child who runs away from her nurse and gets lost, and ends up as a street urchin because she cannot find her way home, then manages to learn to work and through her industry eventually gets a job delivering a parcel to her own home, which she does not realise at first is her own home [a singularly moronic child is Fanny] but her mother recognises her and is happy to have her back, which Fanny thought would never happen. The clothes show her riches-to-rags and back again story, and I have to say that even dressed as an urchin, Fanny is better dressed than many of the real urchins one sees over and over on cartoons of the period.
|Fanny's face, one rich and one poor costume|
|Fanny's rich coat and day dress|
|Fanny's costume at the bottom of the heap and then with enough to have shoes and stockings, plus the triangles for mounting the head.|
And thank goodness that the idea stuck, despite the story!
My copy of 'The History of Little Fanny' is a British Museum facsimile. It's possible to pick them up on Ebay occasionally as they are out of print.
Ophelia's Opportunity is out on Kindle and will shortly be in paperback HERE