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Wax Doll, Victorian

  • Wax Victorian Doll
  • Wax Victorian Doll

The doll has a wax head, blue glass eyes and blonde human hair. It was made in 1873 but has since suffered melting damage to the nose and lost a right arm.

More info

Wax dolls have been made since the Roman period. Wax dolls were produced in England since the seventeenth century (1600s). During the Victorian era English dollmakers made dolls with wax over composition heads made from a mix of glue and saw dust. Wax dolls were easily damaged by temperature changes and scratches. Wax dolls from Paris exhibited in the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in the United States melted in the summer heat. Children also were known to chew the wax from fingers of such dolls. Often wax dolls were placed in glass cases and only played with by children on Sundays. The vulnerability of these dolls meant they had become unpopular by the 1880s and they were largely replaced with bisque headed dolls by the 1900s.

Key facts: 
  • This doll was owned by the Bendle family, who lived in Carlisle.
  • Wax dolls have been made in Britain since the Seventeenth century (1600-1699). Victorian doll makers used wax and a mixture of glue and sawdust to make the doll heads, which were then painted. These were easily damaged.
  • Later Victorian dolls were generally replaced by bisque pottery dolls from the 1880s- 1900s.

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