Monday, November 2, 2009

Anne Bonny, Pirate Lass

After finishing my last character doll, Olive Malvery, I asked my friend in London if she had any other interesting characters on her list of fascinating women. She sent me a photo of Anne Bonny, a 17th Century real Pirate of the Caribbean! Thinking that female marauders are entirely under-represented, I couldn't resist.

Thinking that the 12-inch size doll I made last time is really quite convenient for placing on shelves and so on, I started with a body similar to the Olive Malvery doll. I made her quite pale skinned, as Anne Bonny was of Irish descent.

I gave her a bit of the wild-eyed, slightly fierce look with some extra shading and coloration. I also gave her auburn locks made from alpaca.

Back in the day of lady pirates, corsets and stays were de rigueur. I am doubtful that a gal wielding double-bladed swords and packing a pistol was likely to be bothered with such silliness. Instead I gave Anne a man's white cotton chemise. I also gave her a man's drawers, which were made of slightly lighter weight fabric than the chemise, since I would be putting breeches over top. I edged the undergarments with a pink thread embroidery just for fun and added a pair of Ultraleather black pirate boots to the ensemble.

With the underthings sewn on, I added a pair of man's brown britches, a dark brown jacket and a pirate hat. I also gave her a plaid neckerchief, but later removed that, as it wasn't quite right.

At this point, she was looking a bit, well, fashion runway. At the suggestion of my husband, I distressed the clothing, which meant rubbing a pumice stone over the pants and jacket, which gave the clothing some holes and wear. This was actually quite hard (emotionally) to do after all that hard work, but I think it was worth it for effect. I made weaponry (a cutlass for her to hold, a saber worn at the side waist, a knife, worn in her shirt, and a pistol worn in a striped hip sling) from polymer clay that I painted with acrylics. I added a plaid headband, changed the hat, because I didn't like the first one, and added a plaid band to the hat's crown. I also neatened up the face a bit and painted the base black. I'm quite pleased with the finished doll. Let me know what you think.


  1. I love what you're doing with these historical dolls...your details in their features and clothing makes them seem so lifelike. Plus, their stories are so makes me want to read more about these women!
    Stella xxx

  2. Thanks, Stella! It's been fun to do. I love making the faces, even when they are so small, and I am getting used to working tiny stitches with the costumes, so it's been a good process. Next doll, I think will be this one's partner in crime, Mary Read, an English pirate.

  3. I would LOVE to have a pair of those pants! Once again, great job on the historical figure and the background story...interesting to read.

  4. Thanks, Deena! Just take some pumous to your pants. Either that or buy hand-me-downs :)

  5. Fantastic! i came across your pirate as i was researching ideas to make my own Anne Bonney! Very Beautiful! I am going to poke around your blog just a little more and enjoy your work, Thanks!

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  9. Very nice job.. I got interested in the subject as I just learned about a 1945 film by Frank Borzage,The Spanish Main w/ a character based on Anne Bonny.. is your facial features of Anne Bonny (though stylized) based on her actual image?.. can't find an actual image in Google images.. Thank you...

    1. I don't think there are any records of her actual face. I just made it up for my doll :)