Alice Mary Lynch: Enchanted

Visitors to Jonathan Cooper this Christmas will discover the dreamlike world of doll-maker Alice Mary Lynch. In her first exhibition with the gallery, the Somerset-based artist will present over fifteen new dolls, each crafted with carefully selected vintage fabric, and delicately hand-embellished. 


The daughter of painters James and Kate Lynch, Alice Mary Lynch was raised in the creative environment of her parents’ studios. A love of acting and theatrical costumes led her to study fashion design, and as a young graduate she travelled to Paris. Arriving on the doorstep of designer John Galliano with her portfolio, she was offered an internship that led to her spending nine years in the city, later as a designer for Christian Dior and Sonia Rykiel. It was during this time working with luxurious beads, crystals, and other trimmings that she developed the exquisite craftsmanship that defines her work today.


Depicting the woodland creatures such as foxes and hares spied near her Somerset home, each doll has a unique personality, enhanced by the collage of materials with which it is created. From silk kimonos to Edwardian lace, they are a testament to the artist’s travels in France, South America, and Japan, and the kaleidoscopic influences that inspire her work. Often hovering between two states, half laughing and crying, half smiling and wistfully longing, Lynch’s works reflect the mercurial qualities of our own personalities, and the plethora of emotions and experiences that creates our sense of self. Romantic and playful in nature, each is imbued with the rich symbolism of folklore, and invites us to rediscover our childhood delight in storytelling and imagination.


My characters evolve from dreamlike visions that float around in my head. Sometimes they are prompted by stories, fairytales, a poem, a visit to the circus, glimpsing a fox across the fields or an owl in the sky at dusk...They begin to have a life of their own, a romantic life, as I stitch them together and dress them in a forgotten piece of broken Parisian silk, crystals from an old chandelier… it's a patchwork of different worlds and times. They then begin to have stories of their very own. – Alice Mary Lynch