1. Grodnertal wooden dolls: Also called “Dutch” for Deutsch or peg wooden dolls, they are lathe turned dolls, some earlier versions with tuck combs. They came in sizes of about ¼ inch to very large examples. Queen Victorian and her governess dressed 132 of them, and Tottie is a fictional example from Godden’s novel The Doll’s House. They also appear in the books The Little Wooden Doll and Florence Upton’s Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog.
2. Izannah Walker: This beloved doll maker was born in 1817 in Rhode Island. She inspired many doll makers, including Chase, who allegedly played with Walker dolls. The patent for these dolls was taken out in 1873. The oil painted faces and quaint outfits transform the dolls into folk art. They could have stepped right out of a folk art poster.
3. China Heads: Several books on antique dolls claim that over one billion china heads were made in Germany alone from the mid 19th century to about 1930. Most are familiar with the black, or blonde curly haired dolls also called “low brow.” Yet, there are French china heads with glass eyes and wigs created by Huret, Rohmer, and Blampoix, variations in hairstyles, china heads with brown eyes, Japanese china heads, Swedish china heads, Danish examples, and more. Some are tiny and dollhouse-sized, and others are life-sized.
4. German and French Bisque headed dolls: These dolls are among the most desirable and expensive of all dolls. A German K*R character and a French doll by Albert Marque have broken records, commanding six figures at auction. Rivals to the end, makers like Jumeau, Bru, A.T., Halopeau, Simon & Halbig, Kestner, Heubach, and many more dominated the toy industry. Types of dolls included baby doll, French fashion dolls, French bébés, Googlies, kewpies, characters, toddlers, and more.
5. Wax Dolls: Wax has been traced to Ancient Egypt, and dolls with beeswax heads come from Sudan. Waxworks date at least to the 17th century in Europe, with wax Venus figures created as anatomical models. Madame Tussaud’s waxworks are beyond famous, and still, have their own museum in London, and a few elsewhere, too. Makers Marsh, Lucy Peck, Montanari, Pierotti, Vargas and other wax modelers created expensive dolls, often with each hair inserted separately into their wax scalps. The Bronte children played with wax dolls, and Nellie Olesen of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s On the Banks of Plum Creek had an enviable example.
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