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Nelling, Inc.

E a r l y   D o l l s

page  1, 2

(Click on photos to enlarge) 

Early Paper Mache

with Special Provenance


Another outstanding paper mache doll from the Sherryl Shirran collection, we have an 1840's girl with physical provenance from the family right on her shoulder plate! Obvious are her pupil-less dark enamel eyes, early center-parted long, painted black hair with cascading molded ringlets, rare exposed ears, and pale, original complexion. Her original body is of stitch-jointed stuffed muslin, her arms and hands are of brown leather, and her feet are built-on, blue leather boots that have some wear to the paint surface.

What you can't see unless you look with a magnifying glass are the three family member names etched with a fine sharp tool on the front of the shoulder plate. They read,  Amanda Cooke, Sallie Cooke, and John M Cooke.  They remain there like a permanent, secret link to her family history.  So special for the early collector.

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Soft Paste China Fashion

18 1/2"
Truly Unusual!


Having the presence of a young girl, this unusual, Continental china fashion doll is made from what is called the “soft paste” material and method, giving her a unique look. The larger proportion of clay to glass substances called for the need of a much lower firing temperature and softer, less glassy end-product. Early porcelain pieces from Europe were mostly soft paste with a transition to the tougher, highly fired hard paste during the 1800's. Please notice her slightly tinted, solid dome shoulder head with blue painted eyes, and full face and soft rose tinted lips, also her original, soft human hair wig in fine ringlets Her plump molded china shoulders and arms have a healthy , life-like feel, with the arms a typically lighter tint than the head. Typical of the more porous nature of this type of china, she has a pepper spot above her left eyebrow.  

Her slightly husky, young body is of a stuffed muslin with stitched joints so she can easily sit as well as be propped on a stand. Of great appeal is her antique, enfantine dress of heavy silk in a “Huret-era” like bold plaid, with carved “flower” buttons. Underneath are antique undergarments, on her feet some two-toned antique boots and on her head a dark velvet beret with coordinating trim that gives her a flavor of the British Isles.

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English Wooden Child with Endearing Presence


Along with representing a child, this late, George III English wooden (20") has that special something that only the esoteric changes of time and the natural combination of presentation details can provide. Carved by a wood worker at the very end of the eighteenth century, she has the simpler details of features typical of the examples from that time, but her simpatica personality makes her stand out and almost come to life. She has the darkest brown enamel eyes, one-stroke brows, long pronounced nose, demure smiling painted red lips, rosy complexion and rouged cheeks that combined together give her an endearing energy.

Her brunette, human hair curls are secured to the top of her head and the unrestored surface of her face shows the tracks of play and adoration starting 225 years ago! Acceptable and not distracting for a true lover of antique woodens.  Her rounded head and simply carved torso are one piece, as are her carved wooden legs being only jointed at the hips.  Her arms are of original kid leather, both of which have had a patch added at the elbows later on. Her feet are crudely carved then tinted in a cadmium red paint, with the left one having the front tip chipped off (hidden in the shoe).

Now to her original clothing, that consists of a pre-Regency, long gown of diaphenous fabric, having the new, linear silhouette that drew from the fashions of ancient Greece. She remarkably retains the matching cap in the same fabric, with the same silk ribbon pleated trim as the bodice of the dress. Not to mention the adorable silk slippers with a bit of metallic trim. The pillow with the embroidered “B” has been given to her, however the chair is not for sale and just a prop.

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Petite Early Wax Child


What a dear little wax doll (61/2") to hold in your hand for a close look at her toddler-like, full face with realistically painted blue eyes, a semi-smiling closed mouth and remnants of her fine eyebrows on her pale wax complexion. The passage of time and handling has caused some surface rubs and abrasions on her chubby face. She has a wig of fine blond human hair in tiny curls, and her one-piece head and shoulder plate is mounted on a firm cloth body, jointed with stitching at the shoulders and hips, and having wax lower arms and legs. Her light-weight peach dress of antique wool has a matching bonnet with an unruly tassel-like trim and she wears snugly-fitting white leather slippers with tiny pearl buckles.

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Early Grodnertal Wooden

Original Condition and Clothing

$6,250.   ON LAYAWAY

Dating from the early Regency period before 1820 comes this fine, carved wooden doll from the Grodnertal region of Germany near the Austrian and Italian Alps. She is quite an early one due to the extreme egg shape of her head and she has lots of carved detail to her painted black hair along with the strokes of hair along her forehead and mustard-gold painted tuck comb. She has the original paint on her face that has finely detailed features including her tiny bluish-gray eyes, perky nose, exposed molded ears and pursed little red lips.

Her body is of wood and fully jointed with painted lower arms and legs with the feet being carved slippers that are painted cadmium red. The right foot has had a small painted repair that is difficult to detect without magnification. Her original dress is a fragile black silk one-piece number with a full skirt, tucked in waist, shawl type collar line and tied at the middle with a burgundy velvet ribbon. Her undergarments are also original and although her dress has many weak spots, it displays well with a minor amount of positioning.

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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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German Wax Over Composition Motchsman Doll


For some collectors, the early baby is a magical category all its own, where numerous mediums have been used to depict the history of the infant doll. This outstanding example (16") has an impeccable delicate layer of wax over a composition head, with cornflower blue enamel eyes, gentle decoration and shading of facial features, nicely molded ears, and strategically painted wisps of hair on the head. The wax covered head swivels on a pale, molded composition shoulder plate, whose material and surface is repeated at the hips, lower arms, lower legs and jointed hands and feet. These sections of the body are attached with stuffed linen fabric that provides a special softness of movement.

This is the style of body labeled taufling which was first seen in ancient Asian dolls ad was adopted by doll manufacturers of the mid-19th century in Germany and France, such as Motschman and Steiner. They continued to be an inspiration into the late 1800's. The historical importance of this doll in a collection does not stop with the ingenious head and body type. It is wearing its original, white cotton infant clothing and swaddling in its original white padded bunting, with rows of ruffled eyelet trim and closing in the front with double bow ties. So complete and tidy, and topped off with a simple, white cotton bonnet.  Faint, short, minute line in wax on upper right eyelid.                                                            LW

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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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Unique Carved Wood Shoulder Head Lady
22 1/2"
circa 1840

A highly unusual early German doll, circa 1840, with a carved wooden head and shoulder plate, this statuesque lady stands 22 1/2" tall and has her original finish.  Her blue painted eyes, slightly shaded cheeks, and warm complexion, and intricately carved and painted hairdo make her not only a desirable doll, but also a work of art in 3D.  In addition to the pairs of carved ringlets that fall from above her ears, the back of her head has rows of creative hair detail and a braided lower bun. 

Her finish is original on head and shoulders, except for some light brush strokes, seen at the top and sides of her forehead, only with a black light.   She has slim, flexible leather arms (Right arm has two weak spots) attached to her fully cloth body and she is also able to sit.  Underneath her antique, tiny blue print cotton dress from 1840 (slightly small around the back) she has layers of antique cotton undergarments and wears antique knee-high stockings and antique leather and cloth, lace-up boots. She wears a demure, but wonderfully decorative, coral bead necklace that plays on the gentle rouge shading of her face.     From the Sherryl Shirran Collection.

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 ]