Julip Identification

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Footnotes: On Painters & Eye Styles

For a company with a life span as long as Julip's, it's natural that a small army of employees should have come and gone throughout the years. Julip often operated as a sort of cottage industry with a group of workers taking home batches of models for finishing.

There isn't too much known about early painters, though in the 1980s they had some workers in common with Magpie Models as at that time both companies were located very near to each other.

It can be nearly impossible to identify a particular artist's work, but sometimes a particular eye style can be linked to a painter, or at least a general time period, though this is not entirely reliable as the finishing artists were often learned their style from another painter or from a finished example.

The eyes above come from horses which I presume were made some time in the 1950s as they have lead leg wires. The style from this time seems fairly consistent as most of my lead ponies have eyes like this.

There seemed to be a very wide range of styles in the 1970s, as a sampling of my 70s ponies shows. All of the above models have mouth letters to date them.

There were some beautifully detailed eyes produced through the 1980s. Some of these were possibly done by some of the painters used by Magpie as the style is very similar. In fact, Emma Kelley painted for Julip during this period before she went on to purchase Dream Ponies and found Magpie Models.

In the mid 1980s when Sally Green and Annabel Levaux took over Julip, Sally did most of the painting until she retired around 2005. She had a very distinctive style which was later carried on by one of the painters named Becky, who did most of the catalogue models.

Becky's eyes tended to be very large and round, with three white dots, where Sally's were more of a medium size with four white dots.

Other painters came and went during Sally Green's time, all of whom had their own more or less distinctive style, as these horses from 1995 show.

It is thought that Annabel did most of the painting in the first few years after her mother left, with detailing left to several other painters. Around the end of 2006, another painter, Helen was hired.

Helen's eyes tended to be smaller than typical, almond shaped, with three white dots, one in each corner and another in the middle. She painted regular orders and catalogue models through 2007, and around the summer of 2007 and through 2008, began producing Julip models which she sold through eBay.

These more detailed models were called 'designer' and 'realism range' models and often came with a certificate. The eyes for these models were often quite lovely, and sometimes glossed. The first picture in the four above is a 'realism range' model.

'Realism Range' models have a very distinctive painting style and the hooves are often glossed. The 'designer' models were fantasy models and had ribbons in their hair. Click the images above for a larger view

Hazel & Nat Eyes

Two of the best known painters were with Julip towards the end of Annabel's era, Hazel and Nat. Hazel began working for Julip in 2008, after Helen's departure. She took a break in 2009 to go to university, when Nat took over, working on the weekends with Annabel. Hazel returned in 2010 and both painters continued to work until 2012 or 2013, before the Julip split.

After the HOTY line and the Originals line split into two different companies in 2013, Laura Ibbitt became the sole painter of Originals, but her husband, Mr. Richard does all of the eyes. His style is similar to that of Hazel and Nat, being detailed and expressive, but he generally uses two tones of colour in the irises.


Pet Painting

Pet eyes through the ages haven't seen as much variation as those of the horses. Eyes were usually just simple black dots, or sometimes a dot with a bit of a line to imply the shape of an eyelid.

Sally and Annabel took the dot-dash style and exaggerated it a bit to define the eye more and provide some expression.

In 2008/09 Nat and another painter started using a three dot method - a dot of golden tan, a dot of black, and then a dot of white. Odd coloured eyes became more common during this time as well.

After the 2013 split, Mr. Richard took over painting the pets. He and another artist, Jane, paint all the models. He generally paints the dogs, foxes, pheasants, doves, and ducks, while Jane does the cats, chickens, rabbits, and guinea pigs, though if there's a lot of backlog they'll work on whatever needs doing.

When he started painting, Mr. Richard took Nat's three dot method one step further with an even more detailed four-colour method. He does all of the detailing of the pets, and all of them, even the tiny guinea pigs get the four colour eye treatment.