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Nelling, Inc.

E a r l y   D o l l s

page  1, 2

(Click on photos to enlarge) 

Eighteenth Century Wooden Doll, in Paper Covered Wood Presentation Box


Embedded in a circular antique wooden box that is covered in primitive wallpaper is a 6 1/2” carved wooden doll that is surrounded by an organic floral splay of natural fibers, paper flowers and petite wood creatures. The diameter of the box is 12” and the whole presentation looks like it served as a greeting or gift showing love, friendship or appreciation. The figure has a painted, carved head bearing a smiling expression, with the arms of bent wire, forearms of metal and hands, body and legs of wood.

 Just like the fine cotton fibers creating the foundation or “mattress” inside the box, so is her full head of hair, however it is died a vibrant auburn color. The same fibers adorn her silk gown and she has a fabric, drawstring purse that matches her short cape. Attached all around her are various representations of nature made of natural materials, such as shapes of seashells, blossoms, cones, some actual bird feathers and intricately created paper floral details.


There are also tiny, painted wood garden creatures intermingled into the canvas of curiosities. The piece is probably a Continental piece, definitely something not rarely discovered and a treasure for an early doll collector. It can be supported and displayed on a wooden plate-holder.


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Joel Ellis Wooden Doll

Missing Face Paint


If you are an early wooden doll or even an early American doll collector, a nice addition to your collection is an American made, Joel Ellis wooden doll, made in 1873-74 by the Co-operative Manufacturing Co. in Springfield Vermont.  The doll is know for it's carved and sculpted wooden head, intricately jointed wood body and metal hands and feet. One of the hands on this doll is closed as it to hold an object and she is the version with black painted hair. What happens to most of these dolls is that the paint on the face wears off, depending on where it was kept or how it was played with which explains why most of the facial finish is gone.

This is reflected in the price. The paint on her hands and feet, which are molded black boots, also has some wear, however the body is in very good condition and has a rich, aged tint. The cotton dress is sewn on to her bodice, however the skirt was lifted for viewing of the legs. She also has a cotton apron and both of these pieces of clothing are as old as she is.

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Rare and Early Apollo Knot Paper Mache


The genuine presence of this German paper mache young lady (15 1/4") with rare Apollo knot molded hair style is strong, as everything is original about her. Her black painted, molded hairstyle in an elevated high knot is a visual time stamp from the 1830's. On a paper mache shoulder head that has a pale complexion with original paint, the ages have caused some surface crazing that is expected, as well as a rub to the tip of the nose. The blue painted eyes seem to stand out on her otherwise subtle palate, however she has a subdued dark lip stain and blushed cheeks to add a bit more color.

    The body is in the Milliners style, a slim, cork stuffed kid leather with wood lower arms and legs and her feet are pointed, carved wood slippers in a verdant olive tone. Although her original silk dress is very melted, the texture of its loosely woven threads keeps in in place enough to be safely appreciated and maintained for the sake of precious originality. This statuesque and richly impressive piece of 3-D artwork comes with several pieces of provenance in written form that track some of her history.

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Highly Decorated Parian

Fancy Hairdo and Pierced Ears


The added color in the molded shoulder plate of this 1870 parian lady is an unexpected detail that plays off her muted costume of plaid brown and black tones. She has white parian bisque with blue painted eyes with eyelids highlighted in red, a pursed red mouth, elongated nose, pierced ears and a blond molded head full of separated curls and waves.

The colorful shoulder plate is decorated with a neat, white molded blouse, a ruffled and glazed pink trimmed collar, tied up with a blue glazed bow edged in gold at the center of the neck, with collar detail continuing on to the back. Her original body is of linen cloth with white kid leather, cotton-stuffed arms, one of which is quite split at the seams. Her finely made antique dress of the late 1860's is of a brown and black plaid silk which is quite sturdy and she has lovely, layered antique undergarments and antique leather slippers.

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Multi-detailed Parian Lady


The impact of this statuesque parian (23") is immediate, with her heavily decoration shoulder plate, intricate molded hairdo, pierced ears and masterful facial decoration. Her blue painted eyes, elongated nose and strong chin are surrounded by rows of blond molded curls in a classic 1870 updo that is held in place by an ornamental, molded black hairband. And if you haven't already noticed, her shoulders and collar area consist of a perfectly molded white shirt with painted blue borders and hanging from her neck is a striking, molded black cross.

The shirt and trim detail continues around the collar to the back. Her body is a linen type cloth, jointed by stitching at the shoulders, and hips, with parian molded lower arms and hands and quite unusual molded lower legs and shoes that have black, two strap ballerina type slippers. Her cotton undergarments are all antique is is her early, white floor length dress that is drawn at the waist and collar with long cotton ties.

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Dollhouse "Alien Head"

5 1/4"
Wooden and Paper Mache


With this petite German paper mache head having a jointed Grodnertal-like wooden body, it is known as an “Alien Head”. She is more rare as she is an earlier paper mache, introduced during the transition from the age of German wooden dolls. The original finish of her head and shoulders has typical surface cracks that with the naked eye are not as noticeable as with the camera close-ups.  Her silk costume with metallic paper trim is all original and is of the 1840's period, as is her centerparted hairdo with pulled back bun.

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Early French China as "Wartime Water Girl"


Depicting a young lady in her wartime costume in the 1840's, we have a 10” French china shoulder head with full leather body. She is wearing the costume of a water girl who would carry hydration to the troups on the battle field, hence the wooden water barrel that she earnestly carries with her.

Her molded black hair is in a early, short style and the painting on her face is refined. The uniform she wears is of a light-weight wool skirt and short jacket, with a red and white striped apron, and a dark wool regimental cap. Undergarments and black shoes are all antique. Based on her era of manufacture, she may have served in the Franco Moroccan war of the 1840's.

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Simon Halbig Early Boy and Girl

$1975. for the pair
A delightful pair of early Simon Halbig bisque dolls (9 1/2") with molded blond hair, glass eyes, very pale complexion with soft shading and decoration, bisque lower arms and linen bodies that are jointed at the shoulders, hips and knees.  Both in regional costumes of Germany, the girl has brown glass eyes and the boy's eyes are a vibrant cobalt blue.  The girl wears her elaborate head dress, the costumes are mostly bright and in good condition, however the back of the girl's purple skirt has faded considerably and there are vertical slits on the left side of the skirt. 

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Early German Wooden and Extras

from Oberammergau


Open your mental history book and turn to the chapter on extraordinary wooden dolls of the early 1800's from the Oberammergau Passionplay region of Germany, and you will find something like this statuesque doll of 27”. In addition to her early time of production she comes with her original finish from head to toe with no repaint. Yes, there is wear, however it is the type of wear that is genuine to her age and importance.

Being constructed completely of carved wood, she has the very early, egg-shaped head with pierced ears, painted features and black painted hair with carved detail of strands and an inset, carved hair ornament or comb at the top. You can see that at one point it had some color in a dark golden tone and all around her forehead are many wisps of painted curls showing the typical hairstyle of the day in 1800.

Her finely carved body is left in its natural color and grain, except for the lower arms and legs that are carved and painted with long fingered hands and slipper shoes painted in a rich green. The body is jointed at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees and even has extra articulation with jointing at the waistline. There is a number painted on her lower back that may belong to the carver.

She displays the silhouette of the day with several pieces of clothing, much of it possibly original to her and including many items like slips, pantaloons, camisols, sleeping gowns, blouses, and sashes for accent color. She has a fine, early, antique white gown and an aubergine silk gown made of very early fabric that has been added but not know when. Only she can tell us, but she came to me directly from Germany so she probably has many interesting stories to tell, either in a sitting or standing position..

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Parian Lady with Pierced Ears

21 1/2"
The Judy McDonald Collection

Looking smart in her tailored suit, shown here is a German parian lady with a head full of molded, blond curls in an up-doo, with more curls cascading across her forehead and at the top of her neck in the back.  She has finely painted blue eyes, brows, a demure closed mouth and healthy shaded cheeks and the added feature of pierced ears with earrings.
She has glazed bisque lower arms and lower legs with molded black shoes and white stocking and what looks like her original stuffed cotton, wide-hipped body.  Her two piece suit of small black stripes on white, heavy cotton has accents of black lace as trim around the sleeves, jacket and hem.  Undergarments antique and as final touch, a vintage, tiny glass bead strand around her neck.  From the long-loved collection of Judy McDonald.

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Pink Tint China

The pink tint of this 17 1/2" china's face gives her a warm presence as it reduces the contrast between her black, molded 1860 hairstyle, with ringlets all around, and her pale complexion.  Her painted blue eyes and rose shaded cheeks play beautifully against her brown and cream, fine print dress with a subtle red print on white, wide border.
She has an antique cloth body with a small patch of repair at the tops of her thighs, it is jointed at the shoulders and hips and she has china lower arms and legs with molded brown boots, white stockings and blue garters. There is some mild wear to the surface of her hair and two tiny brown spots on her lower right cheek. Undergarments all antique as is the dress.

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English Wax Lady

 What an elegant wax lady (16") in her original costume and wig, with pierced ears! Her blue glass eyes and a hint of a smile look to the side with her slightly turned shoulder head as she shows off her original earrings. A strawberry blond head of inserted mohair is swept up into an elaborate do, encircled by a long braid at the crown.
Her  rich, burgundy silk costume is in excellent condition with its black silk trim and intricate lace collar/shawl that matches the lace trim on the sleeves.  She has a sturdy cloth body with wax lower arms and hands that has stitched jointing, and as her costume is originally secured, there is a shot of her starched undergarments and black leather shoes to show a bit of what is underneath.  Her only flaw is a bit of flatness to the tip of her nose.

more Early Dolls go to page 2


Post Office Box 4327  n   Burbank, CA 91503

      Cell (818) 738-4591   n Home Phone (818) 562-7839 

Don't  forget to look at the Miscellaneous page!

[ home ] [ about us ] [ accessories ] [ all bisques ]  [ early ]  [ fashion dolls ] [ french dolls ] [ furniture ] [ german dolls ] [ misc. dolls ] [ policies ]