Fashions for small dolls

Fashions for small dolls

Dolls for dollhouses were not usually identified as such in old catalogues. One has to check the sizes to see if they would fit into what was often a 1:12 scale house while keeping in mind children were tolerant of some inconsistency in scale. Even if, theoretically, a 6 inch male doll represents a six-foot man or a 5½ inch female doll a 5½ foot woman, dolls representing children but still able to fit into miniature rooms were likely accepDescription: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people6.jpg (27213 bytes)table, even if on too large a scale. The larger tin kitchens and iron cook stoves, used independantly of dollhouses, would have needed taller dolls. In the catalogues reproduced below from the 1880s to 1920s, adult dolls under 6½ inches (and baby dolls under 4½") are singled out and marked with a yellow dot if mixed in with larger dolls. Dollhouse dolls may simply be smaller versions of a certain line of dolls, although some also were simplified in detailing. One could buy -- in addition to assembled dolls -- separate heads, arms, legs and bodies to sew together at home and then dress with home-made clothes. Babies and children were particularly popular toys in the early 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people79.jpg (43276 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

above: tintype, American, no date

                              

left: cabinet card, New York, no date                               

below: 1863, print, Godey's Lady's Book

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people15.jpg (37675 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people8.jpg (44564 bytes)                                    

 

 

  

 

 

detail from Godey's Lady's Book of 1860

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people4.jpg (39815 bytes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people3.jpg (31211 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people7.jpg (55338 bytes) 1860s

 

 

 This appealling glazed china doll, 5 inches high (as is), has sadly lost her extremities but the lack of original clothes allows us to see the fabric covered body, stuffed with wood shavings, to which the china head and shoulder plate, lower arms (and hands!) and lower legs (and feet!) were attached. The thin areas on the uppermost part of the arms allow them to bend, and the stitching across the pelvis allows flexibility for the legs. Fabric continues over the china shoulder plate to the neck but this is unusual. The waist is nipped in and the hips wide in the fashion of the 1860s to suit the style of dress then in vogue (above). The hair style also reflects this date with a centre part and the hair smooth until forming heavy curls around the face and back of the neck. The full face has large eyes and a small rosebud mouth. Until about this time, shoes on dolls were flat, whereas after or even during the 1860s, shoes with heels were popular.

 

 

 

 

 

 Godey's Lady's Book of 1860

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people5.jpg (30759 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 With a doll this damaged, the best thing you can do is to put her to bed.

 

 

 

 

 

  

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________________________

 

 

below    note: dolls marked with an asterick likely came from the same dollhouse

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people9.jpg (64890 bytes)

 

 

   

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people10.jpg (38977 bytes)

 

  

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people13.jpg (40009 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people12.jpg (24849 bytes) 

 

 

 

1870s    above A pair of tinted bisque dolls representing an elderly couple: the man with a balding head, furrowed brow and wrinking around his eyes while the woman with her grey hair has wrinkles on her forehead and a downward turned mouth. The signs of aging are achieved by painting details on pink skin. Her hair is parted in the middle, full at the sides and caught in a loose bun by a black  bow. Her little feet are in black boots with heels. All hand stitched, her grey-blue silk dress is spectacular with ruffles and a large train in the style of the 1870s. Its volume permits her to stand without a prop. Only 5 inches tall, this couple is a tribute to the skill in moulding, assembling, painting and dressing-making of 19th-century German doll makers.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people18.jpg (66161 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people17.jpg (19208 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people16.jpg (17820 bytes) 

Young woman with a black bow in her blonde hair, which has a braid in the centre of the back of her head. Her beautiful silk dress in russet brown with beads is disintegrating. A shawl (antique handkerchief) helps hid the damage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people22.jpg (68012 bytes) 

 

 Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people25.jpg (41823 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two men from the same family as the bisque dolls described thus far

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people37.jpg (57356 bytes) 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people33.jpg (46354 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

note sideburns

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people28.jpg (89199 bytes)right She has a necklace of tiny green beads; black beads are sewn to a white ribbon down the front centre of her purple striped dress, which has a bustle over her bottom in the fashion of the 1880s; the front is straight meeting ruffles at the bottom; her hair is a natural or mohair wig; (from a different source than the rest of the family described thus far)

 

below fashions in 1883

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people29.jpg (62110 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people19.jpg (65305 bytes) 

 

 

 

This more comfortable dress is part of the aesthetic movement in an attempt to reform the artificial nature of the 1880s and '90s fashion with its call for stays, corsets, added bustle forms, ribbons and lace. The dark green effectively contrasts with the brilliant and varied colours of the inset bodice, arm edging and waist tie. Freedom of movement can be achieved due to the soft material and loose fit. Long hair pulled into a bun was easier to manage than the over-coiffed hair styles in vogue.

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people32.jpg (20040 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people35.jpg (49588 bytes)

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people27.jpg (79685 bytes)

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people34.jpg (76374 bytes)Maid and child; the simple gingham dress, cap and apron speak to the status of servant; her face is white with painted details on untinted bisque, whereas the family members have pink skins but there is a similar use of a cloth stuffed body attached to china lower arms and hands, as well as tiny lower limbs and feet; her dress is hand worked like those of the family. A major difference is the natural wig unlike the moulded hair of the family. Perhaps she was acquired from different dollmaker.

 

In this drawing of 1884 from Pictures of English Society, the mistress is in a formal dress with pleats and a fashionable bustle, while the maid has a cap and apron over a simpler dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people20.jpg (38469 bytes)right 1893 photograph of Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people78.jpg (49294 bytes)servants at Government House, Regina, SK, Canada

 

 

 

 left 1912 photograph of servants in a grand house in Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people23.jpg (24092 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people26.jpg (34387 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people24.jpg (69450 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little girl (3½" high) has the same outfit but recently was purchased from a different source.  She has machine stitching in her outfit and a glaze on her painted features. Her solid bisque body, substantial legs and feet and ability to be self-supporting suggest a date in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Her unruly brown hair comes out of a hole on the top of her head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another maid (5" high) who came with the moulded-hair family described above; in general, wigs appear in the 1860s as they looked more natural than moulded hair; untinted bisque with white skin and painted features; cloth stuffed body; tiny feet; machine stitching on the dress with hand-embroidered detailing on the flannel petticoat

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people21.jpg (61737 bytes) 

 

  

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people39.jpg (51884 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people38.jpg (40189 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people45.jpg (64430 bytes)

 

Brother and sister, untinted bisque with moulded blonde hair, 3¾" high; the boy in original felt suit but the girl has a replacement dress over an original petticoat. Her stuffed body is covered in pink cloth, to which white lower legs and boots are attached; the boy has black detailing on his boots. They have the same moulded head and hair, although the hand-painted details show variations.

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people46.jpg (27396 bytes) 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people41.jpg (64898 bytes)

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people43.jpg (52712 bytes)

 

 

Dolls with stuffed cloth bodies and glazed china heads with painted hair continued throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th but, generally speaking, the body itself was made out of china in many dollhouse dolls after the 1890s, as shown in the catalogue pages below. (note: In the 1970s, dolls with bisque or glazed china heads and stuffed bodies were reproduced for children and adult miniature collectors as props in "antique" settings.) The doll on the left (above), 5½" high, has an early head placed on a reproduction body with recent clothes (the shawl  and skirt are antique handkerchiefs). The doll on the right (above and in the detail on the right) has her original body and clothing -- a lace dress with a bead ornament near the throat, purple waist-sash and attached full rose on the skirt. The modelling of the hair is minimal, relying more on black paint for definition. Feet are still relatively tiny and with heels.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people44.jpg (12938 bytes)

 

The doll below has a low-cut original dress of netting and ribbon with cotton and lace pantaloons and petticoat. Only 3¾" high, her diminutive face was likely difficult to paint; at any rate, it is a simplistic rendition. Her proportions suggest a young woman meaning that the scale is a reduced one; in general, children and babies become more prevalent about 1900.

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people42.jpg (84462 bytes)

 

 

  

 

 Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people48.jpg (90440 bytes) 

 

 

1889

 

Montgomery Ward catalogue

 

nude and dressed -- like Mother Hubbard or Red Riding Hood --  china dolls; babies with gilt-painted boots

 

  

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people49.jpg (37056 bytes) 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people69.jpg (36898 bytes) 

1890

 

Youth's Companion

 

detail of dressed china doll with real hair in bed/sitting room, 14½" x 10"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people50.jpg (133138 bytes)

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people51.jpg (27600 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people52.jpg (25163 bytes)above & details 1892-93

Marshall Field catalogue

left dressed china doll, middle boy & girl with bisque heads and jointed bodies in bathing costumes, right bisque head with jointed body in fancy costume

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people56.jpg (20751 bytes)

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people53.jpg (154455 bytes)

Above 1892-1893 Marshall Field catalogue

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people71.jpg (146237 bytes)

 

Above 1893 Carl Stirn catalogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people62.jpg (28194 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people61.jpg (135692 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

left 1893

 

Carl Stirn catalogue

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people68.jpg (32418 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people63.jpg (137764 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

above 2¼"

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people65.jpg (9000 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tam O'Shanter china head, under 1" high, with painted features

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people72.jpg (21182 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1895 Butler Brothers catalogue including Tam O'Shanter dolls (ad for children's caps from Montgomery Ward 1894-95)

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people67.jpg (29775 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people66.jpg (24096 bytes)Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people64.jpg (16776 bytes)

above dressed china doll with jointed arms in worsted dress and hood

 

left & right bisque doll with moulded bonnet, original fabric dress, sash and petticoat, painted detailing including boots, jointed arms, just under 2"

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people57.jpg (25414 bytes) 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people74.jpg (47999 bytes)left ad for girl's bonnet from Montgomery Ward 1894-95

 

 

right solid bisque doll with moulded bonnet, 2½"

 

 

below bisque head with moulded straw bonnet, 2¼" high

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: people73.jpg (31167 bytes) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

top of page       selected references on dollhouses        home page       list of articles on antiques

 

GALLERY OF IMAGES of dollhouses & furnishings

 

HISTORY OF DOLLHOUSES & FURNISHINGS 1890 - 1990

 

Fashions for small dolls 32
Dreamcastle Dolls
Fashions for small dolls 48
Vintage Dolls /Jewelry Doll Peddlar Dolls, Clothing
Fashions for small dolls 61
Matisse Fashions and Createforme Artistic Works by
Fashions for small dolls 4
The Naughty Side of 18th Century French Fashions
Fashions for small dolls 83
HARMONY CLUB DOLLS - 18 inch Doll Clothes Store
Fashions for small dolls 63
DOLLS _FOR_DOLLHOUSES _1 - McKendry
Fashions for small dolls 3
Fashions for small dolls 37
Fashions for small dolls 91
Fashions for small dolls 21
Fashions for small dolls 76
Fashions for small dolls 63
Fashions for small dolls 72
Fashions for small dolls 17
Fashions for small dolls 10
Fashions for small dolls 76