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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Meeting - Program on Small Dolls (8" and under)


Our program for April was about collecting small dolls eight inches and under.  There are a multitude of dolls made of various materials that fall into this category , but we focused on the original all bisque and subsequent bisque-head with composition body small dolls.

During the 1860’s and 1870’s there were already miniature dolls such as all-wooden dolls, bisque and china-headed dollhouse dolls, and china “frozen Charlottes.” However, in 1878 a different kind of miniature doll was born.  In that year an advertisement appeared in La Poupee Modele, a French children’s magazine.  It announced the birth of “poupees de poches,” or pocket dolls.  These little all-bisque dolls looked like a realistic child, with real wig and glass eyes.  They were fully articulated and could be dressed and undressed.  Earliest production of the little all-bisque dolls appears to have been French, but within two years the French doll shops started using German doll firms for their “French” all-bisque dolls.  The German firms of Simon and Halbig and Kestner made many of the early all-bisque dolls for the French trade.  The all-bisque dolls were immediately very popular, but for some reason the name “pocket doll” was not.  In 1880, only two years after their introduction, they were re-named “Mademoiselle Mignonette.”

Around 1900, the meaning of the word “mignonette” changed.  Instead of meaning only the all-bisque doll, a “mignonette” became any small bisque-head doll regardless of the body material or quality.  The doll firms began putting the bisque heads on small composition bodies and these were also known as “mignonettes.  These dolls were much less expensive than the all-bisque dolls.

We had the largest doll attendance we've ever had at a meeting, I think!  Sorry I couldn't post all the photos.  We had all kinds of dolls for show and tell including bisque, china, papier mache, cloth, composition, wood, and celluloid.

A great book

Bisque Kewpie, all bisque, Hitty, etc.

Some great small bisque heads with compo bodies

Cloth ethnic dolls

Bisque heads

A mix of bisue, cloth, and wood

Palmer Cox Brownies, cloth

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