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Page last updated 12th August 2008

The Gallery is in four sections, currently:

Click on the links to view text descriptions of each section or move straight to the Gallery pictures.

Reproduction Porcelain Dolls
hese are dolls I have made from commercially available moulds mainly from Byron and Seeleys. The heads are cast from porcelain slip, (I use Seeleys slip), rubbed down, and fired to bisque temperatures; they are then painted over several firings at lower temperatures. The bodies are made usually from composition slips of various kinds - in the past, I have used CompoBell (Bells composition slip) which dries to a pink colour ready for polishing, but now I favour various papier-maché substitutes, although they have to be painted once dry.
After all this there is just the small matter of eyes, wigs, shoes, socks, underwear, dress and perhaps hat, - and the reproduction is complete. All reproduction heads are marked by etching the dollmakers name and date in the greenware before the first firing.

Reproduction Doll Gallery click on the picture for details of each item.
ReproductionP&D pair Reproduction FG girl Reproduction XI girl Reproduction KR117 girl Reproduction KR114 pair Reproduction Steiner girl
Petit & Dumontier
François Gaultier
Kestner XI girl
Mein Liebling
KR114 sailor pair
Steiner Bourgoin
Three-faced doll
Reproduction Heubach boy Reprodcution all-bisques
Heubach boy
All-bisque babies
All-bisque bathers
Santa Claus
Simon & Halbig 1079
Heubach Schwester

Rescued Porcelain Dolls
hese are dolls I have completely reconstructed from porcelain heads in very poor condition. The heads I use are found usually by people whose hobby is digging for antique artifacts in places known to have been the sites of Victorian rubbish dumps.
The main interest of the treasure hunters is in old bottles and glass; the doll heads are a by-product in which they have little interest. There are "bottle fairs" where these collectors sell and exchange their wares. I made my purchases at the BBR auction days in Elscar Heritage Centre, (Yorkshire in the UK), which take place about 4 times a year. Note that I would not recommend the trip for this purpose alone unless you are local to the area. The availability and condition of the heads is not consistent. Basically nothing is left of these dolls except the ceramic blank. Often the paint has been burnt off or contaminated and there may be eyes, usually sleep eyes rusted into position. Often the lead weights for the eyes have melted onto the inside of the head and I have seen the eyes themselves melted all over the rim of the eye making he head useless - you can never remove this.
I believe the glass and bottle collectors have a perception that French heads are valuable and thus I suspect dispose of them elsewhere. In consequence I have seen only the normal little German doll heads by lesser makers, bearing (if marked at all) the more widespread mould numbers; on thin evidence I estimate that the heads I have bought date from around 1912. The prices asked for these heads vary quite a lot; as well as what I consider bargains, many of the vendors wildly overestimate the value. Many of the heads are not only badly broken but also quite ugly, with their poor quality painting and jagged little teeth. However, sometimes a charming little face shines out at you, and costs no more than its surrounding ugly duckling sisters.
Once back at home the heads need a lot of cleaning. I soak them in biological washing powders, bleach, and also Steradent, or other product for cleaning false teeth. You can brush them with a soft tooth brush, but never rub with an abrasive unless it is your intention to remove all the paint. (Having said this, I now also use a metal polish intended for cleaning chrome on cars, but you need to exert extreme care as this is a very fine abrasive paste; however it also conatins some kind of acid for removing tarnish and it seems to work well on many of the heads when - as is often the case - stained with rust marks which are otherwise very hard to remove). After this if you are lucky you have a clean head without too many missing paint patches on the face, and you may have the eyes which cleaned up can be reinserted as stationary eyes for simplicity.
If a head is for any reason "nice" but the paint has mostly disappeared, you can, for example, make a your own mould from the head, (resulting in a reproduction doll some 15% smaller than your original), and perhaps then take the risk of repainting (often you can follow the lines of the original paintwork, visible as shadows) and firing. The head may crack - but after all these are essentially worthless heads which have already endured being burnt as rubbish, then buried for 100 years. If you don't want to take that risk you can also repaint with acrylics; this is a good option too because, if someone in the distant future is offended by your efforts they can easily remove the paint.
A final word on these dolls.
"True" collectors would be appalled at this whole idea. Any less than perfect doll should be discarded in favour of waiting for the "perfect" example. However I cannot (or more precisely do not want to) afford to collect perfect antiques of any sort. Nor is it my intention to attempt to pass these dolls off as originals - especially considering the way I reconstruct them this would be unlikely to fool anyone even unintentionally. I like to reconstruct these dolls because it is very pleasurable to be able to see some vision of the little plaything that someone enjoyed 100 years ago.

Rescued and Restored Doll Gallery click on the picture for details of each item.
Restored unmarked German baby Restored Heubach 250 Restored Heubach 300 Restored 201 baby      
Unmarked German Heubach 250 Heubach 300 German 201      
Miscellaneous 20th Century Toys
hese dolls and toys I have either had when I was young, given to me as gifts, acquired by accident, or were too moth-eaten to be left at the mercy of a sale table.
Miscellaneous Gallery click on the picture for details of each item.
picture coming soon picture coming soon picture coming soon picture coming soon
Nora Wellings Sailor Lenci Boy All-bisque All-bisque sailor body

Teddy Bears
ecently I took a notion to try making a teddy bear. The result pleased me a lot, and so I made another. So far I have limited myself to the book Make your own Classic Bears by Julia Jones and I have been pleased with the result of just following the patterns. Currently I am trying to make puppets for childrens gifts from the Book Bearmaking 101 by Carol-Lynn Rössel Waugh.

Naturally there are plans for further bears....

Teddy Bear Gallery click on the picture for details of each item.

Pre-Teddy style black bear

Early German style Teddy


Pre-Teddy German Style Early German Style