When I saw the Boudoir Doll, shown in the picture above, from The Strong National Museum of Play I was intrigued and reminded of the dolls I always had sitting in the middle of my bed. They were just some of my dolls and nothing as fancy as the Boudoir doll shown here. Plus, unlike Boudoir Dolls which were intended for grown-up girls, my dolls were those you would expect from a little girl. And, unlike Boudoir Dolls which are not meant to be played with, mine were played with and as a result didn't last.
According to their description: In the early 20th century, fashionable women decorated their bedrooms, parlors, and living rooms with large, often elaborately dressed dolls. Called boudoir, bed, flapper, smoker, sofa, salon, and parlor dolls, these long-limbed figures often sported lavish outfits with laces, ribbons, and ruffles. Exotic and a bit campy, most boudoir dolls wore heavy make-up and bore a sultry look as if they intended to steal a boyfriend or cause trouble at a party. The Lenci doll company made boudoir dolls depicting foreign costumes, historical fashions, Pierrot, smokers, and vamps.
Credits: Boudoir Doll 1925-1926, Manufacturer Lenci, Material felt, Origin Italy, Object ID 79.9868
My understanding is that Boudoir Dolls were popular from 1915 until 1940 and made by French, U.S., English and Italian doll manufacturers. The dolls were used primarily as bedroom decorations for teenagers and ladies and were characterized by painted composite heads, long thin bodies, long extremities, and adult features.
Most of the dolls were known as Boudoir Dolls, Art Dolls, Bed Dolls, Smoker Dolls, Salon Dolls, Parlor Dolls, Art Deco Dolls, Sofa Dolls, French Dolls, Lenci, Poupees, Flapper Dolls and Vamps.
They became very popular amongst wealthy women who often brought their dolls along to their seamstress when they were having an outfit made for them so she could create a mini-version for their doll.
As is the case with most of the dolls that intrigue me, I wanted to know more. So, I did a little research. Here's what I found: