That’s why I think a lot of people who collect dolls specialize.
For example, Olivia Bristol at Christie’s is the president of the Doll Club of Great Britain. It’s hard for us to realize now just how shocking wax must’ve been for people who saw them for the first time.
Noreen Marshall is the curator of the Dress, Doll, and Childhood collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London.
Recently, we spoke with her about the history of dolls, the various materials used and types of dolls that were made, and how dolls have evolved over time.
I can’t remember precisely when Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote , but the little girl in that classic childrens book had a wax doll.
The Pierottis were still making dolls in the early 20th century, but I think in general by then most manufacturers were principally producing ceramic dolls rather than wax ones. Although every manufacturer had its own recipe, the composition was made principally from wood pulp and mixed with things like plaster, egg shell, and other materials to give it a certain amount of shine.
They would put sticks together and make a doll-like thing.
The poorer children would have to be more ingenious.
Before that, there were only wooden or cloth dolls, and occasionally poor children made their own from odds and ends.It was lying in a box on the table and someone said, “Take it away from me.I can’t bear dolls, and I certainly can’t bear wax dolls.” Oh, dear. When I was a child, I collected dolls with costumes from different countries. If you knew somebody who was going to Spain, they’d bring you back a Spanish doll in a Spanish costume.She was given by King James II or his son to a family who were loyal to the Stuart cause.That doll would probably never have been a plaything—it was preserved and revered because it came from the King. That’s when dolls really took off because of mass-production.