Antique Cloth Folk Art Dolls at Skinner's

Update:  Estimate $300-500;  Sold for $1,659

Cloth dolls have an honesty about them that is endearing.   

This girl above is not only honest, she is capable.  Look at those hands! This girl is sweet but is not going to put up with any guff!  From the picture she appears to be a pancake doll shape   But what a shape!

And this trio above is folk art at it's finest.  To me, the doll on the right looks like the maker was trying to do a portrait in cloth.

Update - Estimate $300-500; Sold for $830

This doll looks like she has a molded face with a cloth covering.  But isn't she sweet?  There are other antique dolls available in  Sale 2585B at Skinner's.  The auction is March 4th.  You can see more antique dolls to be auctioned at this link:

Auction Surprises: Can This Doll Be Saved?

Do you ever go to an auction and bid on something you didn't look at ahead of time?   When they hold the dolls up and you're looking across the room from 30 feet away they look kind of cute.   So you make your (very, very low) bid and then the box gets delivered to you....

If you want to see cool things I bought on purpose, click here.  

I had them out in the garage, but someone told me that's the worst (???) place for them.
So I brought them inside and let them warm up by the new (antique/vintage) cast iron woodstove. 

She's kind of endearing, as long as she isn't hiding a little weapon. 
I know some of you know about these old compo dolls, 
so if you have any opinions, please share.   

A Pauline Papier Mache Transformed

Last week Edyth sold a Pauline papier mache doll. Her new mama outfitted her with a marvelous new set of clothing and an auburn wig. Edyth gave permission to share these images, but please visit Edyth's blog for more details and to see the doll dressed in red.

When Worlds Collide:
Felice Boucher and Grodnertal Dolls

Felice Boucher's photograph above reminds me of other worlds.  It has such a painterly quality to it.  The similarity between the figure in the photograph to Grodnertal dolls amazed me. It looks like a Grodnertal doll come to life with magical powers.  I discovered this photograph when my sister, Karen Sargent Littlefield, commented on it in Facebook.   My sister is also a photographer.

I contacted Felice, who had never heard of Grodnertal dolls, and asked if I could share her wonderful photograph here. Felice graciously agreed.  Felice was named Photographer of the Year in 2010 and was just named Photographer of the Year for 2012.

Isn't it a powerful image?  Wouldn't you love to have it on your studio wall?

Felice's Facebook page

Ilmira Stepanova of graciously shared images of this lovely circa 1820 doll.  Do you see the resemblance between his old wooden doll made in Austria and Felice's photograph?   Now if the old doll lifted her arms and came to life...

See more images of the Grodnertal doll above at

Here is another Grodnertal doll, 
now sold, courtesy of 
Lucy's Doll House.

It is so wonderful to see 
different worlds come together.

Flannel Petticoats for Early Dolls

Before modern central heating, many little children wore flannel petticoats in the winter, often with a crocheted wool edge at the hem. The dolls of that time coppied the garments of their little owners.....visit Edyth's blog to read and see more.  

Also, Edyth has some lovely 
antique papier mache dolls available 
for purchase on her selling site

Can This Doll Be Saved?

Antique dolls should usually be left alone to wear their stories without help from us.  But sometimes a doll has seen a hard life, or has been repainted badly, and needs some help to continue on his or her journey.   Fran Renner has such a doll.  And so, this will be the first of a series here on Maida Today called, "Can This Doll Be Saved?"

I've been "listening in" to an email correspondence between Fran Renner, the owner of this early papier mache who needs help, and Edyth O'Neill, who has helped many such dolls when it was clear they needed help.

Fran says, 
"These are the original pictures when I bought the doll. She needs a lot of help. I have stabilized her head and glued her cracks. Trying to find an eye.I've washed and repaired the undergarments and have repaired her arm. I will send more pictures as she moves along. She is a nice size 26 inches long."
Edyth says:
"Dear Fran -  Ah, the Voit child I was bidding on also for a little while.  <snip> The body looks good to me, the arms may have been hand stitched of cloth, not leather.  Some and some.   In those small areas needing filler, you may use the elmer’s wood filler.  Try a little bit in one crack and let it dry and sand it smooth with fine sand paper on the tip of your finger, to see if this is what you want to use.  Very small cracks can be filled with acrylic Gesso instead.  See which you prefer.  The eye missing needs to go in behind the face.  If you have any thing the right size, use it and paint the center with black fingernail paint.  It will be an oval eye likely.  <snip> The ceramcoat color I use is Dresden flesh, mixed with antique white or straight."
It will be fun to follow along with Fran's progress on this doll.  Here's a view of the full body:

Fran's early papier mache is worth saving.  If you have experience with repairing antique papier mache dolls, how would you approach this?