Many ask what makes something antique. The definition is subjective. If Wikipedia articles exist by popular consensus, though, this topic would be a good place to quote it: “The common definition of antique is a collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has an enhanced value because of its age, but it varies depending on the item, its source, the year of its creation etc. The customary definition of antique requires that an item should be at least 100 years old and in original condition”. Others classify antiques as over 50 years old. Purists want antiques to be unaltered from their original condition, while some others are happy to have the body repaired in spots where time has created damage, or clothes replaced with a similar style of clothing which represents how the outfit would have looked when it was new. Items in our shop are left as much as possible in original condition, but some have been repaired or redressed.
Antique reproductions should be painted in the same style as the original antique. The originals were generally made in assembly lines, so often not well painted. Today reproduction artists strive to repeat the style initially intended for the doll, at the best possible quality. The number, weight and slant of the eyelashes should match that of the original. Eyes should be high quality glass eyes unless the original came with painted eyes. Colours should be as close as possible to those originally used.
Clothes should reflect the styles worn in the time period of the dolls, and no synthetic fabrics should be used, as these were not available at the time the originals were made. Girls wore bloomers, chemise and half slip or a full slip. Sometimes girls had both a cotton slip and a fancy silk slip. Lots of lace was used to make the underwear pretty.
Wigs should be made from natural fibers such as human hair, mohair or animal hair, again because synthetics were not available.
Antique dolls come in many forms. There are baby dolls, young boy and girl dolls, lady dolls, China dolls, Parian dolls etc. Our shop generally has examples of each of these.
Some of the many makers of porcelain dolls in the 1800’s and early 1900’s include Bru, Juneau, Steiner, SFBJ, AT and many more. We have fine reproductions from such makers.
Vintage dolls are dolls that are usually about 50 plus years old. Our shop has a few vintage dolls and these are made of materials other than porcelain. They are usually very cute playthings. These bring back memories for anyone who had such a doll in early life.
Modern dolls are dolls that were sculpted recently, generally within the last 50 years. Our modern dolls are porcelain, so again, not toys. Modern dolls can be painted and dressed in any style and colour that suits the artist. These can be cute or they can display some personality. Modern dolls often have painted eyes, but they can also be made with glass eyes, or even plastic eyes sometimes. The clothing and wigs can be natural fibers or synthetic.
We have many items which can be used by doll makers to make excellent dolls, such as mohair at various stages, many pairs of shoes, some dresses and a few kits, some laces and cutwork for making dresses, hats and underwear, along with excellent materials for making hats, and a few toys and pieces of furniture. We have a few soft fired greenware heads, a few molds, and a few bodies looking for clothes or heads.