sheer charm of this doll was clear even in her unconstructed state.
The painting is so vivid the doll has a wonderful eager look; I
have to confess I envy the ability to emulate this in a reproduction.
These dolls must have been made by the dozen and yet the skill of
those swift paint strokes in creating the character face is very
clear in the result. This doll has multiple brush strokes making
the eyebrow, and her teeth are original. Some of the paint was missing
on the forehead but this is hidden by the wig. I am not fond of
baby dolls but this one is delightful.
order to 'rescue' her everything other than the ceramic head and
original painting is new. I added new stationary blue blown-glass
eyes (supplied by Sheer Elegance) and
used an old reproduction bent-leg baby body made by Seeleys.
I made and painted a new porcelain tongue. I made the all-over curled
wig by perming strands of processed rope mohair, and attaching to
a milliner's buckram wig base, shaped around the head. The pate
was made by recycling cardboard used to transport fruit. (You can
still obtain it even though often now they use polystyrene - one
box makes a lot of doll pates). I knitted the bonnet and boottees
from a pattern in Heirloom
Knitting for Dolls by Furze Hewitt, using No 30 crochet
cotton. The smock-style dress is of a fabric from a quilt shop,
which tend to specialise in pure cotton fabrics and tiny patterns.
This floral pattern was very suitable but is one of the thicker
fabrics so I had to keep the style simple. I used antique lace (well
vintage anyway). I acquire small amounts of lace at every antiques
fair I attend; however, I never seem to have "just the thing"
when I make dolls clothes, if that is of any comfort to anyone.
a blank head I kept calling the doll 'him' - something to do with
no hair - and he would have made a charming boy. However once I
had made the wig 'he' seems clearly 'she'.
references in The Art of
Dolls 1700-1940 Madeline Osborne Merrill
[Figure 667, Page 291]
Character Dolls and Figurines Lydia Richter and Karin
Schmelcher [Figure 240, Page 132].