Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Large China Head Doll

So, I found her at the antique mall. She was sitting on a wooden shelf, folded up on herself. I am not a doll person at all but I went over to have a closer look. $10! I wavered a little, but ended up bringing her home and I am so glad that I did! I just love her.
She has a few long, thin cracks and her face has tiny brown spots, but overall
she is still very lovely!

So does Anne, who insisted on cradling her in her arms the whole drive home, whispering to her. "Tell me your story." she said. Then she'd pause, and exclaim complainingly "MOM! She's not telling me a lot yet."

Um. . .ok.

But isn't she beautiful?! I know almost nothing about dolls and although I've made a few cloth dolls for the girls, china head dolls are completely out of my realm. But she looks. . .right. Is she an original? Is she a reproduction? Is her body original? Her clothes almost certainly aren't. . .they are of a variety of materials and construction techniques. Her feet seem too large and bulky and her arms are fat. But her head looks real enough. I need to do more research. But in the meantime, here are some photos of my pretty lady.

We named her Julia. For Julia Grant, of course. ;)


  1. A lovely doll to have.
    God bless and all the best,

  2. What a beauty! And what a great price!
    I don't know a thing about dolls but I do know when I love one.
    She needs a whole new proper wardrobe, of course.

  3. She's a "high brow" and was probably produced any time between 1865 and 1885. The companies would continue to use molds for quite some time. I'd say she's quite appropriate to bring to reenactments. Sometimes an entire doll was sold, and sometimes just the head, which was more economical. As a result, there are no standard bodies, and some dolls have some pretty funky figures. Also, china feet and hands were typically the first thing to break, and usually Mama just made cloth replacements. She's lovely and I have a few. Her marks come from being loved. You got the deal of the century at $10! She needs a new dress, maybe even one that matches one her new Mama has. They even look alike, with their big blue eyes and curly dark hair!

    1. I was so hoping you would see this post and comment! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I was hoping she would look right if dressed in 1860s style clothing and am so glad to hear she can work for that era, even if she was manufactured later. So do you suggest to just leave the body as-is? It is a nice, solid body, just such an awkward shape. I'm used to cloth dollies with slender arms and legs and a very hourglass figure; while she has a slender waist she's pretty bulky everywhere else.

      $10 was pretty amazing. I thought it was $100 at first but when I realized it was *$10* I about fell over. I thought she might be a damaged repro someone was offloading for cheap, or, if I was very lucky, maybe an original head on a newer body. Still can't really believe I got her for that price!

      I can't wait to make new clothes for her. My sewing will probably slow down a lot over the summer since all the kids have so many activities but I hope to make her a few things, maybe I'll get started on some new underthings this week. I have just enough pink dotted swiss left to make her a dress that matches the girls!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!