Unlike other more intricate dolls the English established a solid presence in wooden dolls. Evolving from primitive carvings into actual well-crafted works of art as early as the 17th century. This trend of constant improvement lasted for over a century well into the 18th century.

Early English Wooden Doll

Early English Wooden Doll


As these dolls improved there was a direct correlation between the quality of the manufacturer and the features the doll had. Higher quality manufacturers began adding things like carved ears, intricate noses and well defined chins. The very top level dolls had intricate joints at the elbows and shoulders and moveable legs. While the lower quality dolls had their limbs held together with crude nails or leather straps.

Diversity in the quality of clothing was common as well. Premium models had quite fashionable apparel made of highly detailed silk. Some even came with beautiful petticoats.

One of the more distinctive features of English wooden dolls was the use of human hair. Although the use of real hair was a nice tough the wigs were usually rather crudely attached.

Elizabeth Ann Washington

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