Wax doll from London, England

Appraised: a 17-inch wax shoulder head doll

This is a 17-inch antique doll with wax shoulder head, arms and legs. Made in London, England, it is similar to the dolls made by the Montanari and Pierotti families, who brought their wax making skills from Italy. Pierotti is credited with inventing the Royal Model Baby in the early 1850s.

Queen Victoria had many babies during this period and interest in them spurred the production of luxury wax dolls, many done as portraits of the royal babies. The Royal Models were shown at the 1851 Exhibition and were very well received, though expensive.

Other doll makers jumped on the successful bandwagon, so if the doll is not signed or labeled, it is difficult to know the maker. The dolls continued being made until around 1900.

Although older children and even adults were depicted in wax dolls, your doll appears to be a baby because of her stout face and short hair. She should be dressed in an elaborate Christening ensemble with dress, underwear, hat and robe.

Her condition seems to be excellent, although lacking some of her hair, and she doesn’t seem to have her real eyelashes and eyebrows. Perhaps they are worn away, or perhaps she is an economy model and didn’t have any.

—Janice H. Foulke

Appraised, August 31, 2008

Wax doll in the style of the Montanari and Pierotti families

Wax doll
Wax Doll Head Back with missing hair
Baby face wax doll
Wax doll body front construction
Wax doll body back construction
Wax Doll Body
Wax Doll Backside