Artist who used to collect Barbies boasts a room full of dolls worth £19,000

Artist who used to collect Barbies boasts a room full of dolls worth £19,000
Mattel is already planning a 'Barbie' sequel

A Gothic artist has dedicated an entire room in her house into a "shrine" for her "creepy doll" collection, as she believes it “makes life so much more interesting and fun”.

Victoria Grossman, 53, began collecting Barbie dolls in her 20s, and since watching the horror film Annabelle she “became fascinated with creepy dolls,” so began collecting and creating them – she has sold more than 400 of her handmade dolls.

Victoria has spent a staggering £19,000 on her collection, which includes over 300 dolls made from “porcelain with Gothic painted features”, which she hopes people think are “haunted” – her favourite frightening figurine is a hand-painted Wednesday Addams.

Victoria’s dolls typically have “mysterious eyes”, Victorian style clothes and “menacing expressions”, and despite their scary appearance her loved ones are “big fans” of her collection.

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Victoria’s creations have been featured in a movie, Dementia 13, after a producer approached her at a doll convention and bought three dolls. Victoria said it was “amazing to see them on screen”.

“Collecting just makes life so much more interesting and fun – I could not see a life without collecting,” Victoria told PA Real Life.

“I love the hunt and love displaying them – I want to see my stuff, I want people to see them and get inspired, and maybe start a collection of whatever turns them on.”

Victoria began collecting Barbie dolls in her 20s, building a collection of more than 200 figurines, but this eventually turned into a fascination with creepy dolls.


She said: “One day, I saw this Gothic doll on the television, and I thought it was so different and, being an artist, I wanted to recreate the doll – so, I did, and it was great, but I didn’t think much of it.

“It wasn’t until I saw Annabelle, the horror movie, in 2014, that I became fascinated with creepy dolls.

“I decided to recreate her, and I put her up on eBay, and it sold for like 120 dollars to someone in Las Vegas, and then I started to collect creepy dolls.”

Over time, Victoria has accumulated over 300 horrifying dolls worth approximately £19,000 ($25,000) and keeps the majority of them on display in her studio.

She said: “I’m not into anything gory – I like them to look artistically creepy as if you have found them in an attic, and I want people to think they’re haunted dolls.

“Most of them are porcelain with Gothic painted features like mysterious eyes, Victorian style clothes, menacing expressions.”

Victoria’s loved ones are very supportive of her unusual collection, she said: “My son has grown up with it, so he doesn’t think much of it, but he loves them; he thinks they are really cool.

“When people come to the house, they instantly want to see the doll room or doll shrine, and my family always want to bring their friends over to show them off.

“They all love to take pictures of them, they’re big fans – it’s the same at conventions.

As well as frightening dolls, Victoria also has a collection of celebrity memorabilia worth more than £78,000 ($100,000).

She said: “I have Barbra Streisand’s vanity, which is gigantic and beautiful.

“One of my prized possessions is Madonna’s jewellery which she wore on the Like A Virgin album cover – I have the pin that’s on her bustier and the bracelet from the inside cover.

“I used to go to Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses in New York for celebrity items in my twenties and thirties.”

Alongside collecting, Victoria continued making dolls, which she sells for £118 ($150) apiece online and at conventions.

She explained the process: “So the base is a regular porcelain doll, and you put a base paint on them, maybe some crackling on their face to make it look old and weathered.

“I often paint on top of their eyes, especially when I’m making it into a character, like Pennywise from the movie It.

“I make the clothes by hand – for example, when I made Wednesday Addams, which is my favourite doll that I own, I handmade all of her clothes and stockings, braided her hair, and painted on make-up.”


Victoria has sold more than 400 dolls to date and has customers all over the world.

She said: “I had no idea it was such a popular thing – I started taking them to conventions, and they did really well, I made the equivalent of £500.

“One of my clients has around 40 of my dolls – it’s addictive, you can’t just have one.

“Most of my customers buy the dolls for their Halloween display and end up adding to their collection and become full-on collectors.”

Victoria’s dolls have even been featured in a movie – she explained: “When I was at a convention, a producer came up to me and said, ‘I love your dolls, I would love to put them in a movie’, and I just thought he was kidding.

“But, they later came to the house, and they bought three dolls – they starred in a movie called Dementia 13 in 2017, it was amazing to see them on screen.”

Looking to the future, Victoria is hoping to extend her collection to reborn dolls – dolls which are hyperrealistic portrayals of babies.

She said: “To buy reborn realistic dolls is usually over $1,000, but I’d love to sculpt one and make an entire doll out of clay – I wouldn’t treat it like a baby like some people do, though.”

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