While I was doing research on the "The History of Faceless Dolls" I read several articles about antique wooden dolls and fell in love with Penny Wooden Dolls so much so that I ended up writing a blog post entitled, "I'm In Love With Penny Wooden or Peg Wooden Dolls."
In researching the penny wooden dolls I learned about a special type of peg wooden doll called "tuck comb dolls." The dolls are so named for their carved and painted hair combs.
According to Wikipedia.org, " Tuck comb dolls are a special style of peg wooden doll, named for their carved hair comb. The head and body is turned as one piece. The hair is usually painted with curled bangs and with a painted comb. Early tuck comb dolls had elongated, graceful proportions, nicely carved details, painted slippers, and sometimes with wood pendant earrings. Some dressed as merchants were called pedlar dolls."
Also, according to The Ultimate Doll Book by Caroline Goodfellow: The high comb, often painted yellow was a fashionable hair ornament and special feature of early 19th century wooden dolls.
I just love these dolls and find them irresistible. I love their adorable painted tuck combs and their clothing. So, of course, I wanted to see more pictures and find out more about these types of peg wooden dolls. Here's what I found and what drew me to each of the dolls:
The Grodnertal, circa 1840 doll pictured above is a "Very Fine Grodnertal Wooden Doll With Tuck Comb, Fine Painting and Original Costume" was for sale on the Theriaults.com website. I find her utterly charming and undeniably sweet.
Her description said, "17" (43 cm.) All-wooden doll with one-piece carved head and torso, elongated slender throat, shapely torso, dowel-jointed wooden arms and legs, painted-over-gesso complexion, painted black hair with shaded ringlet curls framing the face and sculpted yellow tuck comb, earlobes pierced into head, painted blue eyes, painted lashes and brows, accented nostrils, closed mouth with center accent line, blushed cheeks and chin, spoon-shaped hands, orange painted flat shoes. Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Grodnertal, circa 1840. Value Points: wonderful size with beautiful original painting, artistically rendered curls around the petite facial details, original gown, petticoat, and pantalets."
The tuck comb Doll In Fashionable Dress on the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum website here is just beautiful and is circa 1830, German/English. I just love her delicate features and beautiful dress.
The elegant Grodnertal Wooden Doll, shown in the picture above, is from the Carmel Doll Shop. I think she's just beautiful. How about you?
According to their description: A sweet smile will help open doors...Annabel, this exceptionally grand fourteen and three-quarter inch Grodnertal Wooden, must fully be aware of that fact. Appearing as a young lady of means with stylish wisps framing her face, bead earrings and an exquisite printed cotton dress – Annabel wears a subtle smile for all with which she has been blessed. Further details include a paint finish showing flat crazing, but in very good stable condition, (possible, yet slight in-painting to crazing on upper forehead) a distinctive, mustard colored, carved wood comb, plus carved accents to emulate a hairstyle, unusual pale gray painted eyes, a desirable fully articulated wooden body and that magnificent late empire waist dress with leg o' mutton sleeves! Oh yes, green-painted slippers compliment her willowy figure...too wonderful. An elegant doll in a desirable larger size.
For sure Annabel knows she's an exceptional doll.
What I love about the German Wooden Doll Known As Tuck-Comb pictured above on the Theriaults.com website is the fabric in her outfit. According to her description it's an original cotton gown. So, even in the Victorian Era they could be a little bohemian. Perhaps she was a little bit of a "wild child."
According to her description: 7" Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Grodnertal region,circa 1840. Value Points: wonderful painting of stippled curls around her face,original cotton gown,undergarments.
The beautiful simplicity of the "Grodnertal Wooden Doll With Yellow Tuck Comb" from the Theriaults.com website is evident in her sweet face, painted curls, and plaid outfit. I just love her. I can't help but think she was the "pefect lady."
According to her description: 11" Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Grodnertal, circa 1840. Value Points: fine original finish with beautiful painting.
One of my favorite tuck comb doll outfits is the one on the"Grodnertal Wooden Doll With Exuberant Curls and Tuck Comb" on the Theriaults.com website. It is quint-essential romantic and her outfit seems to be in fantastic condition. When I look at her I can't help but think she might be a "lady" but an independent one at that.
According to her description: 16". Condition: original finish with extensive craquelure. Comments: Grodnertal,circa 1840. Value Points: exuberant painting of curls frame the face on the large Grodnertal model.
The two "Very Rare Pair of Grodnertal Wooden Tuck Comb Ladies With Original Costumes" from the Theriaults.com website is the sweet simplicity of the dolls and their very unusual folk outfits. They seem very Bavarian and representative of some kind of traditional folk outfit. Very unusual, indeed. Where are their tamboureens?
According to their description: 9" Comments: Grodnertal,circa 1830,one of the pair is shown in Ackerman's Dolls in Miniature,page 33,described by the author as a "superior doll because both skilled craftsmanship and aesthetic considerations were part of what went into her creation". Value Points: the dolls have rare pierced ears with original yellow wooden earrings,and wearing matching gauzy costumes of unusual style,trimmed with gold ribbon and fringe.
What I couldn't help but notice about the "Large Grodnertal Wooden Doll With Yellow Tuck Comb and Extravagant Curls" shown in the picture above from the Theriaults.com website is the conservative nature and colors of her outfit contrasted with her bright green shoes. Looks like she could be a demur, polite, gracious lady with a little bit of "imp" in her. Every once in awhile she may have taken "a walk on the wild side." Hmmm....
According to her description: 18" Condition: generally excellent,typical light craquelure on complexion,nose tip rubbed. Comments: Germany,Grodnertal region,circa 1830. Value Points: having great presence and fine original finish,the lady doll is notable for extravagant painting of hair,elegantly-shaped face,larger size,and wearing early costume comprising tulle gown with ruffled yoke,undergarments,and padded green silk day dress with pleated ruffles.
What drew me to the "Early Grodnertal Wooden Doll With Fine Original Costume" doll shown in the picture above from the Theriaults.com website was her beautiful embellished sunbonnet. She is so overly sweet and very hard to resist. Certainly the perfect "lady."
According to her description: 17" Condition: generally excellent. Comments: Grodnertal,circa 1840. Value Points: fine larger size with all-original painting,beautifully-blushed cheeks and wearing original early cotton gown with very full sleeves,undergarments,sunbonnet.
Last but not least is the "Small Tuck Comb Wooden Doll, With Provenance" on the Skinnerinc Auctions website here. What drew me to her was she was found in New England with a note that stated, "This doll was the plaything (about 1817) of Eliza Thornton, sister of Lydia Thornton Cram." How fabulous is that?
I'll bet back in 1817 the two sisters couldn't conceive of a picture of their doll being shown in 2016, let alone on something called "the web." Wouldn't you like to know more about the Thornton sisters?
According to her description: Provenance: Found in New England, a note with doll states "This doll was the plaything (about 1817) of Eliza Thornton, sister of Lydia Thornton Cram."