Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The boudoir doll

Boudoir, Bed, Flapper, Smoker,
Sofa, Salon, Parlor Dolls!
All terms used to describe the ornate long limbed dolls
popular from the 1910’s well into the 1940’s.
The dolls were made throughout Europe and America in different variations.
These dolls were constructed from various media;
silk mask face or heads,
felt mask face or heads, composition
(sawdust mixed with a staying agent such as sugar water or starch placed in a mold)
heads with sometimes composition hands and/or arms and feet
 A few had composition bodies and even twist heads or waists.
In later years, the dolls transitioned to hard plastic and vinyl.
Earlier dolls had cloth bodies with elongated arms and legs stuffed
with anything from what looks like lint out of your dryer to excelsior (wood shavings)
 to cotton batting.
Above (Faded Rose Factory - wonderful doll designs here)
They average in size from 24" - 32" with smaller dolls averaging 14" - 18".
 Some had inset human hair or camel hair eyelashes, glass eyes and sleep eyes.
Hair was made from mohair, human hair or silk strands tightly
braided in buns that resemble "Princess Leia" from Star Wars.
They were beautifully painted with blush, dark eye shadow, bee sting lips in
with bright red lipstick and the infamous "beauty mark".

They donned lavish satin gowns with lace and ruffles
or silk pajamas with cigarettes (smokers) mimicking flappers.

Dolls were made to reflect famous people of the times (mostly females actresses)
 and also historical figures such as Martha Washington and
 Annabel Lee (Edgar Allan Poe’s wife) and were given out
as special promotion free gifts and carnival prizes. In the movie "Chicago"
you can see display of "Roxie Hart" dolls.
Boudoir dolls were "adult" dolls and not meant to be played with by small children
 but rather to be displayed as decoration.
There are stories of the dolls as status symbols.
They were given as gifts by wealthy suitors to eligible young ladies
and then dressed to match the attire of the young ladies when carried as escorts
for "protection" on their social engagements.
Later, they were then dressed in a wedding gown using left over remnants.
 It was thought that the dolls were fashioned after poplar actresses of the time as portrait dolls
 and it is a favorite past time of many to match the dolls up with photographs.
Although dolls that sit on beds are still being made today,
the classic vintage Boudoir Dolls were made from approximately the 1920s through the 1940s.
Some of the earliest dolls, made even earlier than 1920 in some cases, were made in France.
Many of the dolls were made in an art deco style.
These are generally large dolls, made to sit on their owner's bed.
 You can find dolls as small as 20 to 24 inches,
although the vast majority of the dolls are over 26 inches in size.
 Boudoir dolls in the larger sizes seem to be in favor with collectors.

These dolls have been made with a wide variety of materials.
Heads are most commonly made of composition.
Many of the French Boudoir Dolls were made with silk.
Some dolls have papier mache faces, and some have faces made of cloth.
Bodies of Boudoir Dolls are most commonly made of cloth,
sometimes with composition lower limbs or molded shoes.

Multiple companies have produced these charming, unusual dolls,
including Lenci, Anita doll company, Blossom Company, Cubeb, Chad Valley and Nora Wellings. Companies were from countries including France, England, Italy and the United States.
Unlike most dolls from the mid 20th century, which were made for children,
boudoir dolls were made to grace the beds of grown ladies.
The dolls today are sought after because of their classic artistic styling and,
often, their art deco look.
Many boudoir dolls can be found by collectors in the $50 to $200 range,
although desirable examples can bring several hundred or thousand dollars
(such as rare Cubeb smokers or rare Lencis).
I am really quite excited about the idea of creating a Boudoir doll.
The earlier, elongated, fabric, limb type.
It will be interesting to work on a much larger scale,
ie: face especially :0)

I am designing a pattern this week,
and if time permits,
I will have her body made by the end of next week!
I will post wips' too.
I hope you found the post interesting :0)

Dolls of the Art Deco Era 1910-1940: Collect, Restore, Create and Play [Paperback]

Susanna Oroyan

Please note: If you click on the pictures they will take you to
different websites with more pictures, information, source.
The underlined text will also take you to the source of history info.

love & light

1 comment:

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