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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Early 19th Century

Early dolls of this era come in many varieites. Materials include carton, wax, and wood covered in gesso. Some of the so called Queen Anne dolls of wood covered over in gesso with cloth joints are really Georgian dolls from the early 19th century. There were also dolls of cloth, and various native materials like leather and cornhusks. There were Native American dolls of many kinds, and these are well represented in works by Carl Fox [The Doll] and Max Von Boehn, [Dolls and puppets].
There were marionettes and puppets of many kinds from all over the world. A great site to study these is and Jean Lotz Wooden Doll website. Also, a reread of Laura Starr’s The Doll Book would be instructive at this point. It is on Google books for free download.
Early accounts of the Brontë children indicate that they had as toys wooden soldiers and dolls of wax. For allegedly impoverished children of the clergy, these were relatively luxurious toys, while paper dolls in Europe became the rage in the late 18th century and the vogue continued with sets like The History of Little Fanny and The History of Little Henry. Milliner’s models with their elaborate coiffures and legends of being used as hat models or hat stands began to make their way into toy catalogs around 1820. China heads will be discussed in another posting, but china figures began to be made in large quantities after The Industrial Revolution and many became dolls and doll heads in no time.
There are many gesso covered and ivory crèche figures and Santos from this time as well in Hispanic countries and colonies, and other countries in Europe and North and South America. Queen Victoria's doll collection of 132 dolls she and Baroness Lehzen, her governess dresed, are also legendary. These were tiny jointed wooden dolls with tuck combs in their laquered hair.
In the near future, we will explore different types of ceramic dolls and figures, and more made of metal.
Above are images of Queen Victoria's dolls.

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