It seems like everytime I'm doing research for one thing I find so many other things that pique my curiosity. Such was the case with my research on the "The Sweet Simplicity of Tuck Comb Wooden Dolls" I posted about earlier. I discovered the "Early Grodnertal Tuck Comb Wooden Peddler Dolls" and absolutely had to know more.
The "Early Grodnertal Wooden Doll As Doll And Notions Peddler Lady" doll shown above is from Theriaults.com website is a doll after my own heart. Not only do I absolutely love her large bonnet, but she's selling sewing notions and dolls. She has five tiny dolls on her table including two mini Grodnertal woodens. Perhaps that was me in another life?
According to her description :7" Condition: generally excellent,original finish perfectly preserved. Comments: Grodnertal doll,circa 1850,presented for the English market as a peddler lady offering sewing notions and dolls. On her table are arranged a myriad of tiny laces,ribbons and buttons, sewing tools such as tiny scissors, various papers with lettered names "Robert","Margaret" and "John", several tiny doll costumes, and five tiny dolls including two mini Grodnertal woodens. Realized Price: $4,100
According to The Ultimate Doll Book by Caroline Goodfellow peddler dolls were popular from 1820 - 1920. They were a conversation piece in fashionable 19th century English drawing rooms and held a prominent place on the fireplace mantels. During this period there was a fascination with itinerant traders who travelled all over Europe, but peddler dolls were a "peculiarly English phenomenon." Most of the dolls were made in Germany and dressed in England with heads of wood, composition, apples and wax. The bodies were made of wood, composition, or stuffed cloth.
According to her description the doll represented an old woman holding a basket of goods to sell.
Also, according to the V&A Museum the head of the doll was made from an apple which had been carved and then preserved. Also, there are several different methods for doing this which all use peeled apples. One is by carving, soaking in brine and then completely drying out. Another is to air dry the peeled apple and then carve it. Some 'wet' methods use vinegar or lemon juice mixed with salt. By the time the apple has finished the preservation process successfully and is ready for the finishing touches of paint, hair etc it has a firm wrinkled brown appearance which lends itself to the portrayal of characters and grotesques. 19th century examples are usually very hard, and have an almost wood-like texture. Apple-headed dolls are still made, predominantly in Canada and the USA.
There was a second Pedlar Doll from the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum website here which was circa 1830, German/English.
I tend to find the two apple faced peddler dolls for the V&A a little scary looking. How about you?
There is a picture of an adorable "Early Grodnertal Tuck Comb Wooden Peddler Doll" on the Skinner Inc. Auctions website here. She's selling everything including the kitchen sink! Look at all her miniature purses. You have to wonder how heavy that basket had to be to carry around her neck. Talk about back pain....
I just love the Pedlar Doll on the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum website here. She is circa 1835-1840, German/English. Look at all her miniature pictures and decorations.
I also love the Pedlar Doll on the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum website here. She is circa 1830-1869, German/English. Look at all her miniature dolls.
The "Early Grodnertal Wooden Peddler Doll With Basket Of Novelties" doll shown above is from Theriaults.com website. She seems really serious about selling all her wares. Doesn't she?
According to her description: 12" Condition: original finish albeit extensive craquelure and tuck comb missing. Comments: Grodnertal,circa 1830. Value Points: beautifully-shaped head and shapely torso,the doll has original peddler's costume including gown, apron, bonnet, and is holding a woven tray of tiny miniature novelties. The doll is presented in a wooden framed early cabinet. Realized Price: $2,000.
I had to include the "Grodnertal Wooden Peddler Doll With Original Costume" from the Theriaults.com website because she was so sweet looking and I loved her bonnet. She is nowhere near as expensive as the other peddler dolls because she has hardly anything in her basket. Perhaps she was lucky and sold out of her knitting wares?
According to her description: 16" Condition: fine original finish,lacking tuck comb. Comments: Grodnertal,circa 1870. Value Points: wearing her original costume with beautiful bonnet,the peddler women is preserved under glass dome with some wares. Realized Price: $700.
I found the "Grodnertal Wooden Dolls As Peddler" shown in the picture above on the Theriaults.com website and had to include her because I loved the little oriental rug with little tiny pair of slippers and her table of wares.
According to her description: 8" Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Grodnertal,circa 1850, the doll is presented on base under glass dome,posed behind a table that is well-laden with miniature lady's ephemera,including little kid gloves, purses, jewelry, playing cards, and more. Value Points: wonderful assortment of tiny items on the table while the doll wears her original gown and unusual net hair decoration. Realized Price: $2,000.
When I look at the "Early Grodnertal Wooden Doll As Peddler Doll With Original Wares" dolls from the Theriaults.com website I can't help but imagine what she's thinking. She just seems to be so pensive - almost wishing she was anywhere else but out selling her wares. You can certainly relate to that - at least I can.
According to her description: 13" Condition: generally excellent,original finish with light craquelure. Comments: Germany,circa 1840. Value Points: the peddler wears her original cotton gown,undergarments,apron,cap with ruffled liner,and red woolen cape,and carries a basket of fancy goods and household wares including a tiny Grodnertal wooden doll. Realized Price: $2,600.
I'd like to think that the dolls and all their little wares were handmade. However, according to a Study of a Parian Peddler and Her Wares article on the NADDA (National Antique Doll Dealers Association) website by Debra Gulea: It used to be thought that these whimsical dolls were all handmade, lovingly assembled during idle evening hours by crafty Victorian homemakers. It has since been learned that many of the peddlers on the market were actually factory made during the Victorian era, particularly those standing & affixed to wooden bases and carrying little woven baskets of goodies. Indeed, these are often stamped with the company name on the base, which attests to their commercial heritage.
Well, manufactured or not I still think they are beautiful dolls and hope you would agree.
If you would like to read a wonderful post entitled "Street Vendors of the 19th century...Peddlers or Pedlars?" from the Dolls from the Attic...Mis Muñecas blog filled with an amazing amount of information and pictures of street vendors and peddlers please CLICK HERE.