"Raggedy Ann" cloth doll
“Raggedy Ann” cloth doll

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, printed cloth sheets for home sewing into dolls were popular. Of factory-made rag dolls, the most famous are washable dolls with painted faces made in Germany from 1910 by Kathe Kruse.

Margarete Steiff, of teddy bear fame, also produced a range of felt dolls, including Golliwogs, which have become highly collectable. The Golliwog was created by Florence Upyon, an American of English parents, to illustrate a children’s story. The Golliwog was a black rag doll with fuzzy hair, a big smile, colourful clothes and a bow tie.

Raggedy Ann dolls were introduced in 1918 by New York cartoonist Johnny Gruelle who subsequently wrote a series of stories about them.

In 1908, the Italian doll maker, Enrico di Scavini founded a company called Lenci to make “art dolls”. These dolls were designed by leading Italian artists and were intended for display. The most collectable Lenci dolls are those made between the Wars. (The pewter Lenci identity tag has often been faked.)

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