Cinderella of the North

5 years, 7 months ago 44
Posted in: New Doll

Hey folks, I finished a new costumed doll! Presenting – Cinderella Of The North, inspired by Johan Vermeer’s 1665 masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring, nicknamed Mona Lisa of the North! 


This doll actually started out in 2011 as a Chrisitian Andersen’s Matchstick Girl, but in the 3 years it took to make her, she had subverted my original intent and evolved almost of her own volition, into a Flemish Cinderella with Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian costuming influences. I photographed her in chiaroscuro, or Rembrandt Lighting, to allude to Flemish portraiture of the Golden Age and Baroque periods, which featured dark atmospheric tones, deep shadows and dramatic contrast lighting. My goal was to capture a look of a 16th century Dutch oil painting.


In allusion to the Cinderella’s formerly affluent childhood, her once opulent – now ‘peasant’ dress was stitched up with 170 richly colourful patches and embroidered with hundreds of Swarovski crystals, seed beads and Freshwater Pearls. I imagined that all those patches are fragments of her outgrown childhood gowns – now rags, which she’s been using for years to keep her one remaining tattered dress intact, while her pristine lace bonnet and precious silver slippers are the only legacy and inheritance from her dear late mother. Cindrella Of The North is a an exploration of the darker side of the fairy tale – before the ball and the happy ever after.


The other three key influences that informed this work were a 1919 Cinderella illustration by Arthur Rackham, a novel Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, and fairy tale illustrations by Sulamith Wulfing.




To see more pictures of this doll, please visit her gallery here.



44 Responses

  1. Anthony says:

    Marina, this girl was breathtaking when I first laid eyes upon her last year, but now her beauty has taken a whole new meaning with this amazing backstory!!! BRAVO!!!!! Just gorgeous!!! I am OBSESSED with that glorious lace bonnet <3

  2. Cjoy says:

    Absolutely stunning! I could spend hours examining the patchwork. The fabric drapes very nicely. Is it silk or wool gabardine?

  3. Miriam says:


    I love all your dolls, but this one is probably one of my absolute favorites. Her face is just exquisite, and I love the connection to the fairytales. And her dress! It’s the perfect combination. I was thinking about the Little Match Girl (one of my favorite Hans Christian Anderson stories) when I saw her dress, fun to see that she was a part of the original inspiration, but I like how it turned into more.

    So beautiful!

  4. Carolyn says:

    Beautiful. One of your best.

  5. Yuxi says:

    Amazing work ;) Can we talk about that amazing dress and those NEW SLIPPERS??

    Also, is it my imagination or are her hands chubbier than those of others?

  6. Pal says:

    Are there any nudes of her? Her nose looks really unique and regal

  7. Els says:

    WOW!! She looks absolutely amazing!! I’m very proud to see her represent my country.

  8. Анжела says:

    Классные заплатки!

  9. MollyTheWanderer says:

    I love her face.

  10. Amal says:

    Something about her reminds me of you, Marina! Her open mouth is really fantastic – I think that’s a hard thing to achieve on a doll… to make it look natural, especially with both sets showing. But you really nailed it ^_^ Her colouring and the lighting are just luscious and exuberant, despite the tatters!! Your work always leaves me wishing I could better articulate the overall effect they give!

  11. She somehow looks like the most intelligent of all your dolls so far; what an amazing and intriguing expression she has. One of my favorites from now on, BRA-VO!

  12. bbe says:

    sorry to say,,but face is ugly…. not everyone thinks your doll is beautiful.
    you criticized other doll too much,

  13. Amal says:

    If that’s ugly… damn, I wish I were ugly!!! :D

  14. Crystal says:

    She is totally adorable! What a precious girl!!!! Always love the hand shots, really gives you a feel for size and fragility! The dark blue dress with the contrasting patched is a feast for the eyes, she is so amazing!!!!!! I just have to say, I love the fact that she is so different from anything I think you’ve ever done. She is not a “classic beauty”, but she is beautiful in a very fresh, natural, more an everyday woman way! We can be Cinderellas too!

  15. Amal says:

    I think her hands are like the Rubenesques’ hands?

    • Crystal says:

      I just have to say that was a fantastic observation! She does have Rubenesque hands! She is a girl who has been scrubbing floors! She is from that strong large boned Northern European stock!

  16. Annina says:

    aaargh I typed this super long comment and it told me it was spam, this happens every time I forget to remove the http part from my “website” link. Will be back to retype my comment later, need to run.
    Love the doll!!!!

  17. lynne says:

    i love her! the way you have photographed her is stunning and you really caught the look
    you were trying to achieve and i agree with Anthony that bonnet is exquisite!

  18. Sylvia Leticia says:

    *A Dream come True*

  19. Nada says:

    I really thought this is the first doll that despite your haircolor looks a bit like you yourself. It probably was unintended but it`s a nice treat.

  20. Jayne Wourms says:

    She is wonderful! I love the way she is posed in the second picture. the way her back looks arched. She looks so quiet and graceful. The dress is fantastic!! as is the bonnet.

  21. Glynis says:

    Ugly!!!??? Oh for Gods sake ! She is a pretty girl,in a gorgeous dress,you don’t have to like it,but you don’t have to be rude either,I love the bonnet.

  22. MissLK says:

    The first time I saw the photo of the Matchstick Girl from another show, the doll reminded me of Marina.

    The evolution of ED mastery is amazing. I find Marina’s earlier creation ethereal and mythical. Over the years there’s a touching blend of realism and emotion. The Cinderella of The North is truly beautiful, like one of the Dutch master’s oil painting comes alive.

    I hope one day there will be a permanent exhibition dedicated to ED in a museum that we can all admire.

  23. Merri says:

    I adore this costume! And this those shoes….want! :)

  24. Annina says:

    Ok, back to comment! :)

    I absolutely love her little open mouth, those little teeth, her mouth makes me think of some vintage porcelain dolls. Love the colour of her eyes and her entire face painting, it’s my favourite yet (I’m saying yet because likely, the next doll you make will be my new favourite).
    When I first saw her in the photos from people who attended that exhibition where she was shown, I thought it looked like she had a little piece of all the previous costumed dolls you have made in her dress, and now seeing she has become Cinderella of the North, maybe these little scraps are from all her step sisters, they are all she got while they got beautiful gowns.

    I really love her whole costume, that under dress with the tiny cream beads, love the bodice/ top part of the dark blue dress, that dainty closure by her chest, all such beautiful touches. And I love things that are a little tattered.
    Ach *happysigh* she is just my new favourite!

  25. ziggytaku says:

    Hello dears^^
    First of all i like to say to some one who read and check Marinas creation blog If you do not like some thing and can not say anything nice, do say nothing at all. Words are like a knife can stub to the heart, and we do not do stubbing hear ^^
    There is many things we may like and dislike and it do not have to be the same things at all ^^
    Critic it is good in the way of sharing your opinion on the meter of the art pies, it is always welcome among the artists as it help them to improve or see the different perspective of the art they made or to be soled in the way there are heading. But rudeness….. well it is just plain point rude!
    If you do not like the art this artist make why come to see it and be rude about it ?
    Just fine some thing you like and enjoy seen and stay a happy positive person.

    As for Cinderella of the North i like to say i absolutely adore this new look ^^
    Mostly people like to see the glamoured up Cinderella intend to over look the plain and poor Cinderella. But that the beauty in the first place after all. In the plainness of her look tiered overworked complexion, but yet sweetness of her nature loving and kind heart, patience to so much unfairness and forgiveness, hard working responsible person.
    And if person is beautiful you could dress one in rags and one still Rock IT !!! lol
    She is very sweet girl who have hopes and dreams of her own ^^
    I love the idea of out grown close patches and her moms headdress pies, it is so charming and also shows that she is so down to earth girl who have love for her dears to her heart and she like a lovely things as all girls would ^^ and she try to decorate her plane raged dress with bits and scraps of pisses of fancy fabric her mean stepsisters would give her as an insult of a piety full kindness.
    I love the look of an open moth as she look like she is singing. She sing her sorrow away, she sing her happiness to the world. The song help her to overcome the hard work of the day, and she fall a sleep to singing mothers lullaby at late night to help to cuddle her lonely heart, binning her parents love back to her from the past. So lovely and darling girl ^^
    Thank you very much for creating her like this ^^

  26. luna says:

    so hard for me to see it as Cinderella all I see is The Little Match Seller (loving the hands and the bonnet) beautiful work nonetheless and what is up with all these haters lately?

  27. Christine says:

    Love this face and must say loving the hands..They seem a little less slim…..Love the pic with Chads hands!

  28. Binnur says:

    I do believe hands are just as important as the face and express just as much. This pretty lass has been blessed with lovely hands as well as a myriad of other comely charms…Lucky Cinderella of the North…

  29. Phoenix says:

    she is soooo beautiful! Her eyes are so big and knowing and also full of hope! Her dress stuns me with its many deatailed patches and the structure in general! I would love to caress it :-) The upper part of the dress is also lovely! The two silver-pieces holding it together look wonderful and the tear on one sleeve is so matching!
    As for the haters: If someone is REALLY successful there are always people who are just plain envious. And having two ebay-auctions in a row over 60 Thousand dollars is VERY successful! And to be able to LIVE GOOD from your art is also something people might me envious about. I hope Marina keeps her blog open to comment and sees that she has far more “likers” then “haters” and that we fans are far more active here then the few “haters” who should be someplace else!

  30. Glynis says:

    Phoenix, well said and very true. It’s just rude to be so mean

  31. Sabrina says:

    I think my favorite part are the tiny findings holding her bodice together- God is in the details! And I’m an agnostic!
    I saw this bumper sticker I love- it says “Wag more, bark less”. So I’m wagging away over this new doll! Love her!

  32. Debi says:

    She’s really cute, and I just love her dress!! :D I wish I could examine it more closely…

    I agree, even if you do not like something, there’s no reason to be rude about it. I wish people would try to be more positive, and if you can’t find anything nice to say, then it’s better not to speak at all. Saying hurtful things is so unnecessary :(

  33. Elena Kurtik says:

    Cinderella of the North is the most miraculous creation: so pure, lucid and subtle. It might even be that she looks a bit more like Matchstick Girl, and few other characters of H.C. Andersen, then Cinderella. And how wonderfully precise you managed to convey the spirit of masterpieces of classical northern painters.
    Thank you, Marina!

  34. Liliana says:

    I think she may be my favourite doll you ever made. She is perfect and really evokes emotions in me – her expression is everything

  35. Annina says:

    My very favourite photo of her is the last one with Chad as the hand model, it’s just perfect. I lover her face and profile so much!

  36. Isaac says:

    one of my favourite costumed dolls to date!

  37. Clara says:

    She fully inhabits herself, a remarkably intense and eloquent character. High Art.

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  39. Annina says:

    I just wanted to say, because I was looking at her again, that I love the way you painted her hands, with the finger tips heavily blushed, it’s my favourite! And these hands are the best ones, I love them!

  40. Marina,

    To say that you are the light of inspiration is not enough.

    You have outdone yourself once again and obviously not for the last time.

    Thank you for not giving up on this beauty and finishing this project- 3, 10, 15 years- who cares? The results are always stunning. Truly.

    I love breathing in your genius, so to speak.

    Ilona xxx

    p.s. I haven’t posted here for a while, so I though I could just praise you as much as my heart desires! :)

  41. Vilandra says:

    Я, почему то, решила что это Герда Андерсена, пока не прочитала пояснение )

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