The Ludwig Greiner Papier Mache dolls of the mid 1800s are are becoming more sought after as collectors begin to appreciate the earlier dolls of the 19th century. Offering quality, beauty, and an insight into the most interesting styles of dolls in the mid-Victorian period, their refined, lady-like expressions, with those reserved hairstyles, and tall construction make the Papier Mache dolls markers of quality collections across the world. This particular lady doll, which stands at an impressive 33" tall, with her painted dark blue, alluring eyes is one such doll.
Some History courtesy of Lolly Yocum: Ludwig Greiner was born in Germany. He immigrated to the United States in the 1830’s and settled in Philadelphia. There he made paper mache doll heads. His patent of March 30th in 1858 was one of the earliest US patents of dolls. The early paper labels glued to the doll heads read " GREINER’S IMPROVED PATENT HEADS Pat. March 30th ‘58". His patent called for cloth to reinforce the paper mache. The paper mache recipe was one pound of white paper cooked and beaten, then add one pound each of dry Spanish whiting and rye flour, then add one ounce of glue. The original patent was extended in 1872. After his death in 1874 his sons carried on the business until 1884. Dolls ranged in size from 13 to 36 inches in height. The heads were painted in oil and finished with varnish. This varnish often yellows. Most dolls have dark turquoise blue eyes however a few brown eyed dolls have been seen. Some dolls with glass eyes have been seen as well. The earliest dolls were all brunettes, the blonde haired dolls came later. A variety of hairstyles were made. A few of the later hair styles have been found with either blonde or brunette hair. If the paper label is missing the dolls can easily be dated by their hairstyle. The doll heads have been found on various cloth bodies. Most of these bodies have leather hands, either white or tan. Some were made by Jacob Lacmann (patent 1871). Since Jacob Lacmann was witness to Greiners will, it seems that the two were well acquainted. Some dolls have cloth legs, while others have a stocking/leather boot combination that is attributed to Mary Steuber (patented in 1878). The variety of bodies found on Greiner Patent Head dolls leads one to believe that they were sold both as heads alone, to have bodies made at home and as finished dolls. No factory clothing has been found. The dolls were dressed at home. The most common type of dress is usually red cotton with a low neckline and a full skirt. The charm and innocence of these early dolls is unmistakable. **
We know how papier mache doll lovers feel about clean faces- and while she does have some wear, yellowing and typical rubs to the high points, no more so than a fine oil painting of the period which only attests to her age and provenance, she is yet quite a prize for many antique doll lovers to acquire. She is dressed in her original antique, period dress-- this lady will make any genuine collector more than happy. I personally placed an extraordinary example of this size with glass eyes in her new home for $2000 -- the market for these early Greiner-types is heating up, and it's not hard to see why. This lady is being offered on layaway plans as well so you can work out your payments in installments -- before you know it, she'll be showing up at your door!
***This doll is indeed available on our customizable layaway plans! With a layaway plan, you can secure this doll for yourself, while taking your time to pay at your own pace! Give us a call at 718-859-0901 for payment details or layaway options, or to discuss this doll. Shipping within the continental USA is $25.00 for this doll.***
She has a beautiful papier mache head on her original antique cloth body with leather arms. Molded and painted features and hair including blue painted eyes with dark pupils, line upper lids, short lashes, tapered arching brows, closed moth, slightly rosy cheeks. Dark hair is done in the middle-part style typical of Greiners, with side curls that are behind her exposed ears the ears. She stands at 33" tall.
She is adorned in a wonderful original dress in raw cotton with faded red polkadots and gathered tightly at her slender waist. She also wears all of her original underwear including ha short cotton chemise, two half slips and a matching pair of pantaloons.. She has long cotton knit stockings and antique black leather high button boots with heels. A very imposing presentation overall!
Marks: The original Greiner paper label at the back of her shoulder-plate. -see photos
Condition: Generally Excellent. The papier mache is in good and sturdy condition, showing some very minor age wearing the form of typical crazing and a larger crack to the side of the neck. The plate could not be fully inspected due to the costume being sewn on. There is some rubbing to tip of the nose with conservative touch-up plus some colored pencil touch ups to the lips and brows. The original body appears to be in sturdy shape and the leather hands are also in good shape as far as can be inspected--there are cloth reinforcements to both ankles. This big girl would be at home in any room in need of a fine 1850's child to spruce up the ambiance or I can easily see her on a movie set for a period drama!
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