Monday, May 27, 2013

Muddy Monday: A Color All Her Roan

May 27 Muddy Monday

Recently, the hobby has seen some uncommon Hagen-Renaker Roan Lady models change hands on public sales forums. There seems to be some confusion as to what color this actually is, in terms of the palette of HRs of Monrovia and San Dimas eras. The Monrovia version of Roan Lady in Rose Gray is a legitimate Rose Gray. The San Dimas version, however, is another animal. Collectors still call this San Dimas color, "Roan Lady Rose Gray", as it is apparently unique to this mold. 

What is it, really? It is neither doeskin nor rose gray; it is more like a hybrid of the colourways. It is not what we know as "HR rose gray", in any of its variants, as it lacks the colors of overspray that are familiar on rose gray. It is not "doeskin", as it lacks the knee markings, and is a different slip base color. In short: the component colors that make it- slip and overspray- are different from both rose gray and doeskin. Purely from a palette standpoint, it is its own color. Now consider the very different style and location of spray, particularly on the faces.

left: "Roan Lady Rose Gray"; right: Doeskin
models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Let's stare down the actually slip color of the body, side-by-side with a normal doeskin Roan Lady. The belly angle is clear of overspray. The one on the left is a warm base color, while the one on the right is what we most often recognize as the colder, doeskin slip.

models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Examine more closely, and one sees that this model's body shading is not in any way "rosy", as one sees on typical HR rose grays (of any other mold).

models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Now, take a peek at an even more shaded example of this same color.

model courtesy Janet Hicks

Suddenly, the "rose" seems to pop out, with more shading. While still not like the collector-labeled color "HR rose gray", it has its own warm quality. Yet, lest we forget, here is an example of what HR Rose Gray looks like (in just one of its many shading variations). 

Photo courtesy Dara West

This Roan Lady has late Monrovia stickers, but a green San Dimas braid. She is most likely a transition model between the two factory eras. As for typical HR rose gray, the color of the overspray is decidedly reddish, downright maroon. The slip color is darn close, if not a perfect match due to variation between "dye lots" (tinted slip batches).

Left: San Dimas "hybrid" rose gray; right: Monrovia rose gray
Photo courtesy Dara West

Left: Monrovia; right: San Dimas "hybrid"
Monrovia has RED shading, black on knees and hocks.
Photo courtesy Dara West.

No maroon, here. The Ladies below are the hybrid color.

Model courtesy Janet Hicks.

Photo courtesy Dara West.

You may have noticed that the San Dimas "hybrid" variant has a unique braid color, turquoise. The doeskins have green braids, a dead give-away if you are ever faced with a particularly lightly-shaded example.

A light example, photos courtesy Karen B. Dietrich.

Is that foreleg white?

Back in HR's Monrovia era, Roan Lady was issued in matte white shaded with gray, from Spring 1959 to Fall 1960. The San Dimas matte colors of Doeskin and "Roan Lady Rose Gray" (or "Hybrid Gray") were produced in San Dimas, in the years 1966-7, 1970, and just six more months for Spring 1971. The term "gray" was used interchangeably on the order sheets for Doeskin and Rose. You didn't know what you would get. Today, grey/gray are sometimes used to identify all three vintage colors, so, always ask to see photographs when shopping online.

Another reason to request photos of any "gray" Roan Lady for sale: HR has reissued this mold, and five of the new gloss colors are grays. She is currently available to order in Charcoal Gray, (steel) Gray, White (gray), Rose Gray, and two versions of Dappled Gray.

Thank you to Jo Ellen and Janet for letting me photograph their models, and to Dara and Karen for their own photos in this post!


Alcorn, Ed. The Hagen-Renaker Online Museum. Web site.

Arnold, Jo Ellen. Access to collection for taking blog photographs.

Hicks, Janet. Access to collection for taking blog photographs.

Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Guide. Third Edition. Page 85. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003. 

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