"Dutch" wooden doll
“Dutch” wooden doll

Simple, skittle shaped wooden dolls, with the head and torso carved from a single piece of wood, were made in England in the 17th century. Any that have survived in good condition are rare and valuable.

Large numbers of wooden dolls were made in Austria and Germany from the 17th to the 20th century. The most sought after are early 19th century “Grodnertal” dolls (named after the region now in Italy but then in Austria where they were made). These had a gessoes (plaster) head with painted hair and features. The body was carved and peg-jointed. Costumes were usually in the French Empire style. Later “Dutch” dolls (from “Deutsche”) from the same region were of lesser quality. These usually had a simpler, rounded head with carved, rather than painted, features.

Wooden dolls were mass-produced in America in the mid-19th century. These often had a fully articulated body and a carved, enamel-painted head sometimes with mohair hair.

Wooden dolls available now
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