Antique Izannah Walker Type Doll
and Izannah Walker Doll

If you don't know about the Izannah Walker Chronicles, you will want to visit to learn about Izannah Walker dolls.  Today I posted about an "Izannah Walker Type" doll, which is interesting to look at.   There is also an Izannah Walker Doll to be auctioned, so be sure to visit and check them out in more detail. 

The Charm of Old Fashioned Cloth Lithograph Dolls


I "accidentally" bought a group of vintage/antique cloth dolls online.  ;-)  The seller clearly stated they were in tough shape.  But I don't mind, because old cloth dolls in tough shape are affordable "teaching dolls"  for me.   Here is the group as pictured in the online selling venue. 

Lithograph printed dolls - litho dolls - were often sold by the yard off the bolt in flat form.  Mama or grandma or the child could stitch up a serviceable plaything quickly and easily.  In addition to a lifelike face, clothing or undergarments were frequently part of the printed design.  These dolls were most often designed with straight bodies without joints such as this 24" doll below.  She has undergarments, stockings and boots printed on the cloth.   Her face has a calm demeanor, with a relaxed closed mouth.  She has printed folded hands, which are sewn to form a stump shape.  Her feet have a seam across the foot which gives them the appearance of a standing foot. 

This poor little girl kept slipping off the chair.....
so some rug padding was needed to keep her in place.
 Here is a detail of her foot:


Dressed, possibly in a baby dress?  
The dress fits her body, but the sleeves and length are a bit long.


The inked face of the doll below is more lively with an open smiling mouth showing teeth.    The lines in the printing are less distinct than the doll above.  She has a tear in her face, and her feet are worn and coming apart.  

She measures 22" in height,
is also stuffed with cotton 
and wears a vintage dress.

Her feet are fraying badly. with the seams coming apart.  

The doll below is one I purchased when I attended a Withington's auction in 2010.
While worn at the toes, she wears her own dress reminiscent of a Maggie Bessie doll. 

Her design was patented February 13, 1900. 

The last doll is an embroidered doll which may or may not have been made with a printed lithographed embroidery design, meant for someone else to finish after sewing the doll together and stuffing her.  She has a scalloped lace embroidery to suggest undergarments, as well as embroidered boots.   Her hard cotton stuffed and stained body suggests she was a well-loved companion to a child.   


The boots:

Her worn face shows the care someone once put into it. 


Playthings by the Yard:  The Story of Cloth Dolls by Frances Walker and Margaret Whitton is an early black and white resource on litho dolls, published in 1973.  

The book gives some information on the history of litho dolls, and has black and white images of many dolls created in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Printed cloth dolls continue to made by fabric companies.  They are alive and well.  You might want to try your hand designing your own printed cloth doll at Spoonflower.

The following Youtube video details the lithography process:

A note about the large watermarks on the pictures.  I found content from blogs I write for reproduced at another blog site with words and images in entirety without my permission.  In this world of traveling content, it really makes sense to watermark photos.  I don't really like to do it so prominently, but that's the reason I'm doing it with a large font. 

Can This Doll Be Saved: the AFTER Pictures

Fran's broken papier mache doll was featured in February for our "Can This Doll Be Saved"  series.  Fran has done a great job in keeping this girl together for another generation to enjoy.

Usually we like to leave antiques alone and let them wear their stories, but some stories need happier endings.  Repairing papier maches is a little more involved than stitching a seam back together that's come loose on a cloth doll.  Fran glued the broken papier mache doll head together and gave her an eye while leaving as much of the original painting as possible.   

Before above, after below.

Here they are side by side


And here she is after wearing a lovely pink dress, with her head together and has an eye replacement as well.  Fran says, "I didn't try to change her just save her. I read a article from a 1984 doll reader concerning how much was to much restoration. I did the minimal and sometime in her future I hope her next owner will like her the way she is. I do plan on antiquing the painted spot once it has hardened."

Fran did a great job retaining as much as she could of the original doll.