Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Doctor is in...well, at least for a bit

I found a few moments today to work with a few of my 'patients'.  The last time I worked on my little English Wax Fashion doll, I had completed work on the head, restoring it to much of its former beauty. 

At that time I had not yet begun to work on the body or the clothing.  There was really little to do on the body other than to find and add a pair of arms.  The clothing needed a good wash, which was accomplished first with Orvus and then a product I love called Re-store.  Re-store was created for quilters and meant to take the yellowing out of old delicate textiles.  It works wonders on antique doll clothes and is completely safe and very gentle.  I also tackled cleaning her shoes.  I think there is enough there to restore them so she can wear the originals, but that is a job for another day. 

 Recently on EBay I made contact with a lovely seller named Lynda Randle.  Her EBay seller ID is lyndalou4u.  She used to work in a doll hospital and she makes lovely replacement leather arms for dolls.  I purchased a pair for a very reasonable price on EBay and when I checked, found they were perfect for the wax fashion doll.  If you are looking for leather arms for one of your dolls, please check her work out on EBay.  You can see the arms in the photo of the doll below.  (And yes, those are the same clothes as shown above!)

Her dress is on the way.  I purchased it on Ruby Lane and will share the completed doll with you as soon as it arrives and she has donned her walking suit. 

Here is an update on my Gallimufry girl.  I baked her a bit more today to remove the old wax.  Her charm is starting to shine through.  Check back for more soon as I begin to restore this lovely little girl.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gallimaufry girl

Gallimaufry is one of my favorite words.  It means a hodge podge of disparate parts.  Boy, does this little doll fit the bill!  Today I am sharing my newest 'buy'.  I call her 'blue boots' because that is what first attracted me to the doll and the EBay sale.  Interestingly enough she was billed as a very old French doll, which, she is not.  As you can see by her head, she is a typical Alice In Wonderland style wax-over papier mache that would most likely be German.  It is the standard papier mache, painted a brilliant pink, and then waxed over with a flesh tinted wax.  Alas, somewhere in the decades that have passed she was apparently shoved in a yellow mud puddle and then freeze dried or baked! 

Another thing that happened over the decades is that somehow, somewhere, this wax over papier mache head was 'wedded' with several other doll parts.  I bought the doll for the blue booted feet and at the time wondered about the jointed hand/arm combo.  It seemed out of place.  Once  I got a good look at the doll, I saw the hands and upper arms were definitely replacements and completely inappropriate for the body (if nothing else, they are way too big).  I would imagine these hands were from a bisque headed doll of some sort, though they could have belonged to a papier mache - just not this one.

As I began to pull the doll apart, removing the clothing, it quickly became apparent that the head had been wedded not only to the arms, but to the body as well.  The head might be the right type, but it is too large a size for the torso and was tied on - not very well, I might add - with strings.

The body is definitely older as the leg/shoe combinations are wood.  They are beautifully turned and painted with high detail.  These are the kind of shoe boots that are often found on early 19th century dolls and this little head is late 19th.  I have seen them on these old papier maches and on milliners models.  The length of the doll measured 11 inches when I got it.  The size of the body suggests the original doll might have been smaller, more like 10 inches.  Many milliners models were this size or smaller.  I think, though, that the legs also may have belonged to a papier mache head, but again, not this one.

The clothing is simple and in the usual style for a German doll head of this type.  The dress, unfortunately, is a shattered silk mess.  You can see the original design in the photo below.  It appears to have been an off-white silk with a green circular design.  The bodice of the dress is lined, so some time was taken in the making, which suggests the original owner might have been a 'well heeled' dolly.  (Pun entirely intended!)

I am not entirely sure what I will do with this little girl.  I doubt the arms will stay.  Though some mother long ago probably played 'doctor' and saved her little one's friend with great ingenuity, I will most likely rework the entire thing.  I will replace the composition arm/hands with leather ones, which are more appropriate, and probably look for a wonderful little head.  I actually bought this doll to use the body and arms for another head.  Keep checking back to see how this project progresses.  At the moment, it is a mystery to me!

As to my other 'patients', they are in the waiting room at the moment until the doctor returns.  We are at the end of the summer season at the historic site where I work and there never seems to be time to play with dolls.  Hopefully, I will have some updates soon.