Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sammy, the Black Schoenhut Boy Doll

Whew!  Six months??????  I can't believe its been that long since I have posted here.  I have a lot to make up!

Today I am going to start with a marvelous Black Schoenhut boy named Sammy.  His owner has sent me seven Schoenhuts to repair so far and every one is fascinating, but this is probably the most unique of the lot.  She had sent Sammy to be repaired with another restoration artist and he came back looking brand spanking new!  All of the charm and 'age' was gone.  She asked me if I could take him back.  I took a deep breath, told her to send him, and said, 'Sure, I can do that.....'

It was an interesting challenge, to say the least.

Here is how Sammy looked when he arrived.

 First thing to do was get rid of the ghastly new paint.  Here's what was left.  Yikes!

Then to give him some new 'skin' and recreate the waves of hair in the bang area that had been destroyed by the previous restoration. 

And here he is after paint removal, repair, new paint and more.




My goal as a restoration artist is to make an antique doll look shelf worthy, but keep the age and the charm.  I was pleased with this one.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dolly Madison China Head

It is just about time to get down to some serious repair.  My work at the historic site ended this last weekend and Christmas will have come and gone soon.  Winter is my time to work.

Recently I picked up a few new babies of my own.  The newest one is a Dolly Madison Pink tint china head.  She is gorgeous!  The doll had a cracked shoulder that was an easy glue job and a little missing paint on her head.  As an interesting side note, when I looked in Dolly's head, it was stuffed with fabric and the 19th century advertisement you see in the photos.  No gold or jewels hidden then, but historical treasure!  I am not sure why people did this in the past.  It is fairly common.  A china head is already heavy so it hardly seems like it would have been for weight or to balance the feel of the doll so a little one would not drop it on its head.  I am sure it made that more common - hence the crack!

I am not sure how far I will repair Dolly's body as it is suitable as is, though one arm could use a fix and she has a strangely swollen calf!  Anyhow, here are a few photos of her 'as is'.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gorgeous Girl

My doll repair work has been on hold for a week or so while I completed two paintings for the holiday display at my husband's store.  I'll share them in another post.  I have been watching and bidding on eBay and I won this antique 1850-ish papier mache head with exposed ears and glass eyes.  She is GORGEOUS!

As I have grown older, I have come to love the earlier dolls, especially any made of papier mache. According to the dictionary, papier mache is a malleable mixture of paper and glue, or paper, flour, and water, that becomes hard when dry.  Ludwig Greiner, of course, was the king of the papier mache doll makers.  There were many other makers, some who marked their dolls with paper tags (like Greiner and Superior), most of which have long since been lost. Many were never marked.  I think this beautiful lady is a Greiner, but I will have to do some research to prove it since she has no tag or residue of one having been on her back plate.

Her dimensions are 7 inches tall, with a shoulder spread of 7 inches as well.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black Islander Doll Heuback Koppelsdorf 399

Another little project.  This one was for me.  This is an app. 10 inch Heubach Koppelsdorf Black Islander Bisque head doll.  

According to www.dollreference.com - Ernst Heubach's porcelain factory was in Koppelsdorf, Germany, they made bisque doll heads on kid or composition bodies.  Ernst Jr. married Beatrice Marseille, daughter of Armand Marseille and one of E. Heubach's sculptors had a brother that worked as a sculptor at Marseille, which may explain why their dolls have similarities to one another.
In 1919 Heubach and Marseilles merged and formed the United Porcelain Factory of Koppelsdorf (Vereinigte Koppelsdorf Porzellanfabrik vorm Armand Marseille and Ernst Heubach).  By 1932 the two companies went their separate ways.  During this union, 1919-1932 dolls are often marked with 'Heubach Koppelsdorf'.

He (or she) needed cleaning and minor repair.  The doll has its original brass earrings and grass skirt. A little grass hat is missing.  I plan to make one some day. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Schoenhut Restoration and Doll Repair rules

This is another Schoenhut I restored.  It is a Miss Dolly type, which is the 'every day' doll the company made.  I did another Miss Dolly sometime back, please check out that post for more info on the doll itself.  While I was satisfied with this restoration, the owner was not completely.  I mention this in order to discuss expectations for the restoration of older dolls.  I have a couple of lines I make in the sand -

1. This is an antique doll.  I will leave all original paint, facial features, etc. that  I can and will not repaint or alter them unless I deem the request reasonable.

2. An old doll is an old doll.  I will not make them look brand new.  That's not what I am about.

3. At times, as the project and the doll dictate, I will leave paint missing, uneven edges, and rough places.  Again, this has to do with #2.

4. I use photos of antique dolls and follow them for repairs - this means I match the antique colors as far as lips, nose dots, etc.  Again, I will not make these look new or use improper colors.

Some of these rules applied to the job where the customer was not completely satisfied.  She did not like the lip color or the unevenness of the fill on the face.  If you intend to have a repair done, PLEASE ask questions before agreeing to it and make clear what your wishes and desires are.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

One Hundred Years of Dolls Program

Most of you who read this blog are not from my local area, and so you probably do not know that I give talks on antique dolls and other historic subjects.  My main doll program is entitled: One Hundred Years of Dolls. It focuses on how both the dolls and the lives of their owners changed over the one hundred year period from the 1830s to the 1930s.  I start with Milliner's Models and end with Lencis and the beginning of the era of the Composition Doll.  I am available to present programs throughout the year.  Please email me at mcumminsfair1@gmail.com if interested.

This talk was given at the Troy Hayner Cultural Center in Troy OH in early 2015.  This was a slightly shorter program that covered the lifetime of the woman the center is named for - Mary Jane Hayner. The program was entitled: Dolls of a Victorian Childhood.