Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art,Washington.
In doing some of the research lately for the peg wooden dolls and peddler dolls I came across a wonderful slideshow collection of doll illustrations with historical information on each type of doll.
The National Gallery of Art :: Dolls from the Index of American Design is a beautiful collection of 28 different doll illustrations. Included with each slide is some historical information for each type of doll made and the credit information for the doll maker, doll owner and doll illustration designer.
The illustration above is slide 1 of the exhibit. Credits are as follows: Carmel Wilson (artist), American, active c. 1935, Eunice Cook Williams (object maker), Mrs. F.N. Holley (object owner), Doll, c. 1939, watercolor and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.16660
According to the overview: From early times, children everywhere have loved dolls. This program presents a sampling of different types of dolls, many of them old, rare, or beautiful, which are cherished by collectors or exhibited in museums in the United States. The history of dolls may begin in prehistoric times with idols and ancestor images. It has been conjectured that, once the symbolic or religious role of figurines lost significance, they became toys for children. It is known that toy dolls as such existed in ancient Egypt and Greece, where examples have been found in archaeological excavations.
There are 28 illustrations with dolls in the collection. Of course, I loved all of them, but have to tell you that I did have 3 favorites. They're all from the Victorian Era. Surprise, surprise!
I know that you'll understand from reading the description below why this illustration was a favorite of mine.
The description for this was as follows: Here is a handmade cloth doll representing a grandmother knitting a red wool sock. The doll was made by a southern gentlewoman who supported herself after the Civil War by making fine cloth dolls. This was the one-thousandth doll made by this woman.
The illustration above is slide 3 of the exhibit. Credits are as follows: Jane Iverson (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Wenham Historical Society (object owner), Doll, c. 1936, watercolor and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15542
This doll is wearing a beautiful blue Victorian dress. There are three reasons I was partial to this doll. If you don't know ask my sister. I know she'll know.
The description for this was as follows: Wax dolls have been made from very early times — by the ancient Romans, for example, on through the first quarter of the twentieth century. This wax doll was probably made in England, which was noted for its wax dolls in the last half of the nineteenth century. This doll dates from the 1870s, and her elaborate costume is typical of the period. The dress is of blue taffeta trimmed with white organdy lace. The doll's childlike face and hairstyle might seem better suited to a child's body, but the true child doll was not yet common. Not until the 1880s was there a change from predominantly adult dolls to dolls representing children and babies. Many collectors still prefer dolls with features of a child but dressed as an adult.
The illustration above is slide 24 of the exhibit. Credits are as follows: Lillian Causey (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), The Baltimore Museum of Art (object owner), Doll in Blue Dress, 1935/1942, watercolor and graphite on paperboard, Index of American Design, 1943.8.7734
I just love this dolls beautiful black Victorian dress and feather bonnet. Now why would that be?
The description for this was as follows: This beautiful wax doll of about 1871 is named "Belle Hervey." She has real hair embedded in her wax head. This was an expensive process, characteristic only of luxury dolls. Belle's arms and legs are also wax, while her torso is made of cloth. Her eyes are glass. The overdress with postillion is of black taffeta trimmed with pale pink silk ribbon and black lace; there are pink buttons on the basque, or bodice, and the shoes are bright red and buttoned. Her underclothes are trimmed with bands of tucked muslin and lace; there is a pink edge on the dainty lace hose.
The illustration above is slide 25 of the exhibit. Credits are as follows: Edith Towner (artist), American, active c. 1935, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Mrs. F.C. (Vernette Snyder) Ripley (object owner), American Doll--"Belle Hervey", c. 1937, watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15468
The National Gallery of Art :: Dolls from the Index of American Design is a beautiful collection of 28 different doll illustrations to peruse and admire. I hope you get a chance to visit the National Gallery of Art :: Dolls from the Index of American Design online collection. You won't be disappointed.