One of the little dolls I’ve not got around to putting in the shop yet. Her face is cracked with age and she’s a little grubby but has the sweetest face.
I’ve just put another doll in the main shop. I’ve put it in the ‘Broken’ section, as it needs re-strung. I think it’s an early composition doll but can’t find any markings on it. It has lots of chips and I know some people restore these dolls so they look the way they did when they were made but I prefer them ‘as is’ and like to see the age on them.
I’ve had this doll in the main shop for a while now and I don’t think it will be selling anytime soon. As dolls go it is more than a little on the weird side but I genuinely think it has a lovely expressive face (though one I might not want to see turning up in my dreams).
It is clearly handmade, with a cloth body and a painted face — I think the head may be papier-mâché but I’m not sure. It looks to be a good age and has numerous repairs all over it. I’m going to give it a while longer before I break my own rules and keep it for myself. I may put it in my window to scare off intruders…
A photograph of a little girl, with her doll in the background. This might be from the Victorian era or it may be Edwardian. Once again, the doll looks as if it should be haunting a room somewhere or making inexplicable reappearances after the family got rid of it in a deep dark hole (just like my monkey-thing).
Most old dolls, especially Victorian ones, look pretty sinister in photographs. I think a lot of it is to do with the fact that the doll were designed to look like adults, as opposed to babies or children. But even the baby doll ones can look menacing after they’re been kicking around for a while and have lost an eye or two. The exception are Norah Wellings dolls, which always look cute.
Another two little strange broken dolls I picked up a while back. The first one is minus arms and legs and has quite a peculiar face — slightly sinister. I got it at an antiques fair and the people who were selling it did not know anything about its origin. We have quite a lot of antique German doll parts but I don’t think this one was made in Germany and it may be vintage as opposed to antique.
I never clean the dolls — and leave it to the buyer to decide just how much signs of age they want to remove from them. If they are to be used for artwork — as many of them are — it might be decided to use them ‘as is’.
I’ve quite a few vintage doll heads and other doll parts in the store and have a lot more to add in once I have the time. Some of the antique doll parts are tiny and mostly dug up from old doll factories in Germany. This one is quite a large one — so not from a miniature doll and it seems to be unmarked but I don’t think it is German.
I think people use the smaller doll parts to make things — artwork, jewellery or as an antique element in the new doll. They’re also good to have around just as they are and make interesting keepsakes in their own peculiar little way. Bigger ones, like the doll in the picture are good on a shelf or desk — just sitting there, looking intriguingly strange. People always want to pick them up and have a look at them, so they’re a sure-fire talking point.