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Wax shoulder-head doll

Category

Dolls

Date

circa 1850

Materials

Wax shoulder-head doll, wood, leather, metal, textiles

Measurements

570 mm (height of doll)

Place of origin

England

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Collection

National Trust Museum of Childhood (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Not on show

NT 659737

Summary

A wax over composition shoulder-head doll in a glass case. The case has a rectangular, varnished, dark brown wooden frame, with wooden base and top (this has been unscrewed and now accompanies the case), and glass panels at the front and sides. The inside of the base is lined with green velvet. At each side of the back, near the top edge, a gold-coloured metal plate has been screwed, for screwing through to attach the case to a wall. Through the back, near to the top edge, are two small holes through which a cord was threaded, tied round the doll's neck to keep her upright. The doll has moulded and painted facial features, with black glass eyes, and an ash-blonde mohair wig, styled in ringlets. Her face has several cracks in the wax. Her body and legs are of stuffed cotton, her lower arms of brown leather, with three fingers and a thumb on each hand. When found (11.9.2001), her legs had been bound together with a length of white silk ribbon, held taut with a pin. Both these items now accompany the doll, wrapped separately. She is wearing a very dirty, starched linen dress which has several small holes, some of them darned. It has many rows of pintucks in its full skirt which has a broad edging of broderie anglaise with a scalloped hem. It has a wide neckline edged with a broderie anglaise frill, and long sleeves, puffed at the top with deep broderie anglaise frills. There are drawstrings at the neck and waist. Underneath she has a white linen petticoat with a deep pintuck near the hem, a cream flannel petticoat (which hs a few tiny holes) with a linen bodice, a white linen chemise, and white linen pantaloons edged with lace. All these garments fasten with drawstrings, and are quite dirty. On her feet are bootees, crocheted in cream wool with lilac ribbon ties and are stuffed at the toes to make them fit. Round the waist and over the right shoulder of the dress is a broad sash of white, blue, black and yellow tartan ribbon, tied at the left waist in a large bow. At each shoulder is a large bow of red, black and cream tartan ribbon. Wound several times round the doll's neck and pinned in place at her front waist is a gold-coloured metal chain, attached to which is a gold-coloured metal locket in the shape of a book fastened with a tiny clasp. Inserted in the books pages are four tiny sepia photographs of men in Victorian clothes. Also in the case is a tiara made from a narrow cylinder of cardboard covered with pale pink silk decorated with tiny glass or plastic beads and larger 'pearl' ones. At the back is threaded a length of pale pink ribbon. Total number of items is six