Although this 18th century doll looks looks as if she represents an adult woman, her clothing presents clues which demonstrate very clearly that she is not an adult. In the 18th century, dresses fastening at the back like this were for children, not women. Long streamers of matching fabric called 'leading strings' at the back of the dress indicate that she represents a teenage girl. Leading strings originated in the clothing of very young children, where they helped adults to assist the child who was learning to walk. In the 18th century they also became customary for unmarried teenage girls, perhaps to symbolise the fact that they were still under parental control.


  • Title: Doll
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1740/1750
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 40.6 cm
  • Provenance: Given by R. M. Gregory
  • Medium: Wood, with gesso, paint and varnish

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