Most collectors agree that the School for Scandal dolls were made in the 1920s and 1930s by London antiques dealer Hugo Hughes. The term refers to the wooden dolls dressed in period costumes made of 18th-century fabrics and styled like dresses worn by characters in "School for Scandal," a British comedy of manners that first appeared in the London theater in the 1770s. In the early part of the 20th century-long before doll collecting had developed or knowledgeable doll collectors had published many books-collectors accepted these dolls as 18th century Queen Anne-like dolls (because the head and torso was carved of one block of wood, and they had the glass eyes common to Queen Annes, but their longer necks made them look different from 18th century woodens). Many "authorities" were fooled by these dolls. The irony is that most collectors now think the dolls were made with the intent of deceiving the collector, and that, of course, is scandalous-so the name certainly fits. When the dolls first appeared public, there was great interest in the 18th century-perhaps because of the sesquicentennial of American independence (1826) and of the silent-film version of "School for Scandal."
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