About Alice & Austen
Literary Gifts For History Lovers
Alice & Austen is an online gift shop and family business managed by Tansy Roberts. We stock a wide range of literary and history-themed gifts including original artworks and designs.
Our in-house designs and craftworks are marked as Pendlerook Designs originals. This includes the Deepings Dolls, a range of woodturned, hand-painted sassafras figurines featuring the artwork of Jilli Roberts. Jilli has been painting the dolls for more than 25 years, researching costume history for every detail. The Deepings Dolls can be found in several galleries around southern Tasmania, though the Jane Austen and Alice in Wonderland designs are exclusive to our site.
Every item in our shop is hand-picked by Tansy to match favourite themes from classic books and historical eras. Tansy's daughters, Raeli and Jemima, both enthusiastic artists in their own right, have taken on the task of photographing stock for the site.
Jilli Roberts - Doll Artist
Jilli works from her home studio in the vibrant town of Cygnet, in the Huon Valley. Jilli graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Diploma of Education (visual arts) in 1989. She majored in painting, and her first love is three dimensional work, so she finds painting 'in the round' with the Deepings Dolls a real pleasure. She has also been a teacher of art and theatre skills. Originally hailing from England, with a wealth of childhood memories of village life from the 1940s, and a love of social history, Jilli loves recreating these characters from past ages, including occupations, sports, and the finery of ladies and gentlemen. She especially likes painting characters holding Australian animals and the famous navigators who made their way to Australia. Having previously worked in theatre, costume has always been a fascinating subject for her. She has amassed an extensive library of costume images through the ages, both English and Australian, and enjoys the weekly challenges of finding the correct detail for the accessories that are necessary for the many orders that come to her studio.
Tansy Roberts - Manager
Jilli's daughter Tansy is an award-winning author, critic and podcaster. She and Jilli took over the Deepings Dolls business in 2006, after the original Deepings Woodturner retired, and shortly after Tansy's own first child was born. Tansy has a background in social history and literature: she majored in English and Classics at the University of Tasmania, and went on to get her PhD in Classics, specialising in the history of the Imperial women of Ancient Rome. She has a particular love of Shakespeare's comedies, Regency novels, and vintage children's literature. She has been quilting and making textile art she was a child, including many traditional and modern techniques combined; almost everything she makes from fabric is sewn entirely by hand. Tansy is the co-editor of Cranky Ladies of History, an anthology of short fiction. She may be contacted at email@example.com if you have any specific requests or other enquiries.
Christine Baker - Woodturner
Christine was the apprentice of Adrian Hunt, the original Deepings Woodturner, and is now the sole producer of the 'blank' sassafras turned shapes that Jilli paints to create the dolls. Christine also works out of a home studio in the Huon Valley, surrounded by bush.