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I don’t look after all the dolls, but I oversee the collections. I’ve got colleagues who are in charge of the cloth ones and the plastic ones and the porcelain ones and so on. When Caroline Goodfellow took early retirement about 10 or 11, years ago, I had to take on the whole doll collection as well as all my other things.
The costume and the child care collections are pretty big on their own.
The two pieces might have been made in the same factory but by different people.
If you don’t join the correct head size to its corresponding body, the result looks extremely odd. You still had some wooden dolls around, and you can’t necessarily say what people were using to make homemade dolls.
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.
All sorts of people like different kinds of dolls, and I think it’s just terrific that there are so many collections and collectors around.
There have been so many different dolls in the last 50 years and so much marketing has gone into them, it’s almost impossible to keep up.
I’ve worked for the Victoria and Albert Museum since 1974.
They made them themselves, or their parents or older brothers did.
If you didn’t come from a family with a lot of money and you didn’t live in a town, you’d be very much thrown back on your resources for playthings.
The 19th century was the age of industrialization with doll making. Other people made dolls professionally before, but they couldn’t have turned out as many dolls as, say, Simon & Halbig would have.
Simon & Halbig was one of the biggest firms in Germany, making its own dolls as well as ceramic doll heads for other doll manufacturers to their client’s specifications.