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Wax Doll
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Title: Wax Doll
Identifier: O.69.68
Donor: Mrs. G. Gildner, 8 January 1979
Item Date: 1840- 1900
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A wax doll in full dress, missing one shoe. a) The doll has a wax head with inset blue eyes that move, and blond hair in a bun at the nape of the neck. The hair is matted and dirty. There is a pink ribbon tied in a bow and nailed to the doll's head. The body is cloth and probably stuffed with saw dust. The ceramic legs and arms are glued on to the cloth body. The legs are painted blue with orange and black stripes. (b) The doll is wearing a long pink, ankle-length silk skirt whose hem and seams are hand sewn. It has a white waistband at the top with a button and button-hole closing. (c ) The doll's top is made of the same pink silk as the skirt. The top is made from two main pieces: an upper piece that has short puffy sleeves attached, with a purple ribbon attached to the right sleeve; the bottom piece has pleats and is hand sewn onto the upper piece. Five small metal buttons run down the front of the top. It has a high black and beige lace collar. The top seems to be attached to the doll at the neck, and to the other clothes with two straight pins. (d) A wide deep pink/purple cummerbund is tied around the doll's waist with a flat knot in the back. Both ends have a fringe. It is attached to the top with hand sewing. (e) Underneath the skirt is a chemise of white gauze-like material with red embroidered decoration on the top front. (f-g) The doll is wearing two long white gauze petticoats. The first petticoat has an eyelet trim around the bottom. The waistband of the petticoat is a double thickness of material, with a metal button and button hole for closing. The second petticoat has a wide off-white waistband made of doubled material. There is a small band of lace hand sewn around the bottom. (h) The doll's white cotton bloomers reach to the top of the ceramic part of the legs. The lace around the bottom of the legs matches the lace around the bottom of the second petticoat and is also sewn on by hand. The seams are machine sewn. (I) The small black leather shoe on the doll's right foot is made of two pieces: the sole and the sides. The sole is a small oval piece, while the side or top is made of one piece that includes two straps. It is hand sewn to the sole and down the front. The shoe is held onto the doll by some thread wound around the ankle.

Wax dolls and papier mâché dolls were contemporaries made from 1840 to 1900. Some pressed wax dolls were made earlier but were very rare. Warm wax was poured into molds made of plaster and then hair and glass eyes were set into the head. Most wax dolls were made in home-based businesses. The bodies of these dolls were usually made of cloth stuffed with sawdust with wax or wooden limbs. The wax was often coloured with lead which gave a more life-like skin than papier mâché or wood. Wax dolls were mainly made in England but were also created in Munich and later the United States.
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