As doll-making art is predominantly from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, these dolls are the more procurable by collectors. Mass production methods were becoming commonplace by the end of the century, so a large number of dolls of all different types were surfacing at the same time.
In this post I will show only samples of China, and Bisque including the beautiful French Bebes, and Fashion Dolls. All of these dolls will be covered individually in later chapters including their makers.
For now, my objective is to show that these dolls were available at the time of Queen Victoria’s reign, but only to the very wealthy.
In addition to wooden dolls, wax dolls were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, and they were also a contemporary of the papier mâché doll. . Munich was a major manufacturing center for wax dolls, although the earliest wax dolls found by collectors tend to be the poured wax dolls made in England. This was after the demise of the wooden doll industry from 1840 through the remainder of the 19th century. Although pressed wax dolls were made before this time for the very wealthy.
The Young Queen Victoria became a symbol of the 1840’s subdued and dove-colored decade. She spent her time most domestically filling the palaces with nurseries. It was in this quiet and rather dowdy atmosphere that the early porcelain dolls made their debut.
Child portrait with a "Lowbrow "China head doll ca. 19th century
If there is no color added to the bisque and it is left white and unglazed, the doll is sometimes referred to as a "Parian" doll.
The best known group of antique dolls are the German and French bisque dolls. Bisque, which is fired twice with color added to it after the first firing, looked more like skin than china.
The years from 1860 through 1890 were dominated by fashion dolls. These dolls were made to represent ladies, and they were dressed in exquisite, elaborate reproductions of current fashions.