Saturday, January 23, 2010

Madame Alexander Princess Elizabeth

To commemorate the coronation of King George VI in 1937, Madame Alexander introduced a new celebrity doll. Her name is Princess Elizabeth, and she is made totally of composition, with a mohair or human hair wig, sleep eyes, and is marked Alexander Doll Co/Princess Elizabeth. Dolls range in size from 13 to 27 inches and have open mouths with a felt tongue and teeth. A 17 inch doll, also called Princess Elizabeth, has a closed mouth.

Princess Elizabeth came wearing a gown, drawstring handbag, and a tiara, but parents could also buy other beautiful clothes for Princess Elizabeth. Not all the clothing was tagged, but thankfully, the doll is marked on the back of her neck for identification purposes.

The Princess Elizabeth mold was also used for several other Madame Alexander dolls: McGuffy Ana, Flora McFlimsey, Cinderella, Snow White, and Kate Greenaway, to name a few. What differentiates these dolls from Princess Elizabeth is their hair styles, clothes, and subtle details like freckles in the case of Flora McFlimsey.

My Princess Elizabeth is 16 inches tall and wears her original black leather shoes and rayon socks. Her taffeta gown is a replacement, and her tiara is older than she is and dates from the 1920's. Her necklace is a handmade original. A taffeta bow in her mohair wig complements her gown.

The real Princess Elizabeth was eleven years old when the doll was introduced. King George VI was her father. It's amazing to look at the doll and compare her to the grown woman who is the current reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Nice to be reminded that we all started out as little children at one time!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Unmarked composition dolls

When I first decided to collect dolls, I had no real idea of where I wanted to start. I just knew that I wanted to collect dolls with sweet faces, that were pre-plastic but post china and bisque. That put me squarely in the range of composition dolls out there.

My first doll was a fairly local purchase from a woman in Australia. The doll is 100% composition, jointed, with a feature that I've not seen in other dolls - ceramic eyes. The irises and pupils are concave. Her hair is a replacement wig, and I've tried to find some kind of marking on her, and the only thing I've been able to find is an inscription written under her neck in pencil. It's quite faded, but is written in the kind of script that was used in the 1920's and 30's - a little flowery and artistic. I wish I could make out what it says. This doll is 18 inches tall. She has a round mouth - another unusual feature. If anyone recognises her, please contact me. I'd love to know more about her. I am guessing that she dates from the 1930's.

The other unmarked dolls include a baby doll, which I swear I have seen in a vintage Christmas short film, and a Black baby doll, who may have been a Patsy competitor. The Black baby doll has tin eyes, painted lashes and is also 100% composition. Her outfit appears to be original as it fits her perfectly and is quite fragile. She is about 12 inches tall and probably dates from the late 1920's. The larger baby doll is a "mama" doll, although her cryer no longer works. Her face is so cute and she has a soft stuffed body. Her face was completely professionally restored and her legs and arms are sealed against crazing. She is about 21 inches tall and probably dates to the 1950's.

None of these dolls are marked, but I got them for various reasons. They are all unique in some way and just add a different dimension to my doll collection.