18th Century Dolls, Dollhouses, and Doll Clothing

Wooden dolls

Wax dolls

  • Nordiska museet NM.0151865, made in the first half of the 18th century; the black velvet dress is probably a later addition
  • Historic New England 1924.918 and 1924.919, c. 1720-1725; “These extraordinary objects, made by the teen-aged daughter of a well-to-do Boston, Massachusetts, family, are the only American-made free-standing figures known to have survived from the eighteenth century. Wax work, like fancy needlework, was among the artistic skills considered important in the education of young girls during this period. Sarah Gee supported these figures on armatures and used colored beeswax and real fabric trimmed with lace dipped in wax for their bodies. They are protected by their original English bell jars and mounted on turned wooden pedestals made to fit the jars.”
  • MoL, 1756-1765; “Wax fashion doll. A fashion doll with solid wax head and limbs on a wire frame, with moulded and painted hair and glass eyes. The doll is wearing a formal Court dress of striped and brocaded silk with a wired skirt. She has a compass hanging at the waist.”
  • V&A W.183:7-1919; petticoat had a note pinned to it saying “Mrs Powell Wedding Suit 1761”
  • Nordiska museet NM.0025851, a doll dressed in a Norwegian bridal gown from Telemark, made c. 1770-1779
  • National Trust Museum of Childhood 668426, c. 1780; “A wax head and shoulder doll with moulded and painted facial features and brown hair. Her lower arms and boots are wax. The body is made of stuffed fabric. On her head she wears a red skull cap with tinsel decoration. Her short sleeved dress of cream fabric has silver coloured spots. Both the hem and skirt are decorated with tinsel. Underneath is a cream cotton petticoat with a serrated hem. A long red train, which has a plain backing, is attached to her shoulders and is again decorated with tinsel. The fabric is badly worn. She stands on a round wooden base to which she is held by wire. A red and cream fabric decoration (possibly flowers) is at her waist.”

Other dolls

  • PVMA 1885.40.07, a rag doll (named “Bangwell Putt”) made for a blind girl (Clarissa Field of Northfield, Massachusetts), c. 1770
  • Nordiska museet 0022622A-B, a pair of dolls made of silk wrapped over wire, c. 1770-1779
  • National Trust Museum of Childhood 665109,England, 1785; “A small, stuffed, calico doll with painted facial features and blonde hair. She has paper or card hands with only one remaining finger. She is wearing a cream muslin dress with pin tucks in the skirt and bodice, a muslin cap with ribbon trim and red ribbon shoes. Beside the doll, on a stand, is a cream silk hooded cape, a cream muslin dress with pin tucks and a twisted wire cane.”

Doll clothes

Dolls’ houses and “baby houses”

There are a lot of detailed photos of dollhouse furniture and related miniatures on Bildindex.

Doll furniture

Depictions of 18th century children with dolls