In doing some of the research for my "Early American Wooden Dolls By Joel Ellis From 1873" post I ran across the Peddler Doll from 1851-1951 (Material - painted | carved | papier-mache | wood | molded) pictured above from the strong National Museum of Play and, once again fell in love.
I know, I know. I fall in love with every doll I see. Guilty as charged. But, she is just so charming - don't you think? Just look at her face.
So, of course, I had to find out if they had any more and what information they had on peddler dolls. Here's what I found out:
In the description of the peddler doll pictured above they stated: Most 19th-century makers of peddler dolls began with a mass-produced, small figure made of wood, papier mache, leather, or china and added the handmade red cloak, black bonnet, white lace cap, calico dress, and apron of the traditional "notion nannies." The fun of making the peddler doll was in crafting the dozens (sometimes hundreds) of tiny notions, buttons, fabrics, laces, ribbons, and pots and pans that the peddler offered for sale. Peddler dolls displayed their merchandise on large trays hung from a strap around their necks, in baskets on their arms, or in larger bins displayed at their feet and protected by a glass dome. The doll form seems to have been most popular from about 1820 to 1860.
Based on the above it seems like the fun in making the doll was all their miniature accessories. I bet that was a lot of fun, but definitely time consuming.
I also ran across the beautiful Peddler Doll illustration shown above from the Dolls from the Index of American Design Collection at The National Gallery of Art.
According to their description: This is a rare and interesting peddler doll; it represents the era of street vendors, who sold items of every imaginable description, from handmade lace to kitchen utensils. This china-headed doll, dating about 1860, carries a basket filled with notions. Such dolls were especially popular during the late eighteenth and nineteenth century in England, where peddlers constantly hawked their wares on the streets.
Mina Lowry (artist), American, 1894 - 1942, Anonymous Craftsman (object maker), Museum of the City of New York (object owner), Peddler Doll, c. 1936, watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, Index of American Design, 1943.8.15399
Here's a few more of my peddler doll favorites from the strong National Museum of Play .
How sweet is she? I just love her bonnet and her tiny purses.
I'm not sure I like her painted leather face, but every time I look at her I have to admit there is something charming about her.
In the description of this peddler doll we learn: Peddler dolls first appeared in the 17th century in Europe but became most popular in the 1800s, when, ironically, the number of peddlers diminished. English artisans offered peddler dolls in both female and male figures each with the familiar red cloak, black hat, and an array of miniature pots, pans, books, buttons, stockings, and other goods. Many peddler dolls of the 19th century were made by Victorian women who took up home crafts of all kinds with a passion.
I can't decide whether this doll is a really a witch or a pilgrim. I know there's a lot of character in her face - perhaps a lot of wisdom, too. I think she's more likely a pilgrim with her hat and pilgrim shoes.
I wish we could see more of her wax face, but that doesn't stop me from loving her. Just look at all the miniature dolls she's selling. I'd buy them. Wouldn't you?
In the description of this peddler doll we learn: Itinerant peddlers of old fascinated Europeans for centuries. These traveling salesmen and saleswomen usually sold their small goods like ribbons, threads, spices, tools, and kitchen implements to farm wives who lived a distance from town shops and market squares. These traveling merchants inspired the English and European peddler dolls of the 19th century.
I just love her sweet face, her hooded cape, adorable bonnet and dress. Totally irresistible.
There are more peddler dolls on the strong National Museum of Play website. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.