Friday, March 14, 2008

The Seamstress Art ~ Early Paper Mache Milliner's Dolls

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In an earlier blog post I mentioned my trip to Nashville, Tn to the Heart of Country Show this past February. As always it was a fun and enjoyable experience. Not only was I able to buy some exceptionally nice merchandise but I was able to just admire other wonderful pieces. Of course, it is always a learning experience as one never knows what treasure will be around the corner to take your breath away.

It happen with these two very early milliner's dolls. I was completely intrigued by them not that I am a doll collector as I am not. Dolls of this type were made to be dressed in the latest fashions of the period by a fashion designer, most generally from Paris. The dolls were then shipped to many parts of the world including England and the United States giving the client the ability to see the detailed garment in miniature. Still, a seamstress might employ a milliner's doll to create a fashionable garment to show a potential customer. The customer would be able to view the details of the garment plus the skill of the seamstress.

Both of these milliner's dolls were purchased from the same household and date about 1830 - 1840's. How incredible to have been stored away all these years. Both have paper mache heads & shoulder plates with hand painted features. The larger doll has wonderful whispy curls painted on the back of her shoulders. They have kid leather bodies with wooden carved limbs. The limbs are very long & slender including very thin fingers. The flat shoes are painted on. Both dolls are dressed only in underclothes with the smaller one having a pair of petticoats. One a plain fine cotton with guage pleating at the waist and the underslip in a fine print with scallop edge. The larger doll also has a cotton petticoat & long gauze bloomers in a red & white. Of course, all hand stitched.

I just found these dolls so endearing and so much to my liking.

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