In 2011 I went to Withington's to see the Izannah Walker doll on the right which was to be auctioned. While I was there, the wonderful Withington's people arranged for another doll to visit so that I could take pictures of two dolls together. The pictures were for an article about Izannah Walker dolls to be published in an Early American Life, written by my friend Edyth O'Neill and myself.
It was fascinating to see the two dolls side by side. Ella, the doll on the left, has provenance which shows that she was made in the 1850's. We do not know when the doll on the right was made, but some elements are different when you compare the dolls. Artists try different things from creation to creation.
Ella has a much narrower waist and seems to have the shape of a lady doll as compared to the doll on the right. If you compare only from the shoulders up, the proportions are similar. But from the shoulders down there are quite a few differences.
Ella's arms have a curve, while the doll on the right's arms hang in a more straight fashion. The doll on the right has a body which presents as strong, with larger and longer legs. Ella's body over all is narrower, with a more extreme waistline, narrower hips, and dainty legs.
Here is another image of Ella and her friend. :-) In this image you can see how the curve of the body has changed - the doll on the right has a much more upright presentation.
Anyway, I find comparing dolls fascinating.
But it strikes me that when you base a pattern on one antique doll you are basing it on that individual doll. If I were to redesign my Izannah Walker pattern and based it on my doll Hope (an antique Izannah doll), I would be making a pattern based on HOPE. I'm designing a doll pattern based on Philadelphia Sheppard Babies, and it is interesting to see two of that type side by side. It is the job of the designer to consider, what are the elements that are there in ALL dolls of this type, and which design features are specific to a particular doll.
Here are some other images of bodies of Izannah Walker dolls. In these dolls, we do not know which elements are original, but the shapes themselves can give interesting information about Izannah Walker dolls when shown as a group.
|courtesy of DGW Auctions|
|courtesy of Carmel Doll Shop|
|Izannah Walker Doll sold on Ebay|
|Izannah Walker doll at Withington's|
|Izannah Walker doll I saw at Lucy's Doll House|