Toy makers make dolls these days of materials that can endure hours of active play by vivacious toddlers and children. In contrast, French doll makers of the 19th century made fashion dolls with delicate bisque (like porcelain) heads and intricate costumes more akin to little mannequins than they are to modern dolls, largely because these antique dolls catered to an older audience and served a very different purpose. In Victorian times, young girls, especially from wealthy families, lived more sheltered and restricted lives ruled by convention and, in some ways, hampered by their fashionable clothing of yards and yards fabric. Consequently, girls played with dolls, arranging, dressing, and creating costumes for them, well into their teenage years. In part to appeal to their older owners, French fashion dolls resembled ladies, not children. These dolls served more as miniature models of femininity than as playthings.


  • Title: Doll:French Fashion Doll
  • Date Created: 1850-1875
  • Location: France
  • Type: Dolls from the Nineteenth Century, Fashion Dolls
  • Medium: bisque, kid, wood, paint, glass, mohair, metal, silk, lace, linen
  • Object ID: 77.6556

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