Saturday, March 9, 2013

Edyth's Izannahs, Old and New

Edyth O'Neill has been a doll collector for decades.  An artist in her own right, Edyth is a painter, doll maker, and well known hooked rug designer.   Above is a grouping of Izannah dolls - antique dolls in the center, flanked by reproduction dolls made by Jan Conwell   Here is what Edyth has to say about her antique Izannahs:

“Hannah, at middle left, is shy and faded and worn. An antique Izannah Walker doll, she has had minimal restoration. Her Sister in the middle right has just joined her and has had a split in the center back of her head repaired and probably a patch in the center of her forehead as well as extensive repainting. Comparison with Chronicle photos of many other Izannahs leads me to believe that the second color around the doll’s hairline in front and on the bottom of the front curls on both sides is not unusual on the old ones. Perhaps the darkest hair was painted first, and the softening lighter brown was added at the hairline and the tips of a few curls on each side. This might be a point of interest to doll makers of this genre. Both are dear examples of a beloved doll family.”

Two antique Izannahs, Hannah and her sister

Antique Izannahs left and center, Jan Conwell doll at right

Antique Izannahs left and center, Jan Conwell doll at right

dainty antique Izannah feet

Whispered secrets between sisters, the boy doll is feeling left out?
Edyth asks for suggestions for names for the boy doll made by Jan Conwell. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Izannah Walker Doll Sold on Ebay

This antique Izannah Walker doll appeared and sold on Ebay by seller o.w. yesterday in a matter of hours through a Buy It Now Listing.  In the interest of reporting on all things Izannah, I'm putting this here for future reference.  I had asked the seller for additional pictures, but before she could send them to me, this girl was sold.  She has a sweet shape to her face, and the side profile is endearing.  Who knows where she has been in her 150+ years of life?  

The description of the doll is: 
19" Antique & early Izannah Walker doll, ca. mid 1800's. This is a desirable American doll with the look of a primitive painting. It has a stockinette pressed head, oil painted hair, applied ears and muslin body with painted limbs. This is the very early doll with the long side curls. This super example of an Izannah Walker doll has had some repairs as most of them have had: A split in the fabric on back of head has been repaired and reinforced. Overpaint has been removed from lower cheeks. I have blacklighted the doll and the head repair doesn't show up but scratches on the cheeks do where paint was removed. 
Here is the link to the auction, where you can see more images.  I have a new habit of taking screen shots of Izannah auctions on Ebay, to remember the date, seller, etc.  

via Ebay  - seller o.w. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Izannah Walker Doll Body Designs

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

A Pictorial Directory of Dolls<br> Featured on the Izannah Walker Chronicles

My mission for this blog in 2008 was to create the site I wished existed - a site for doll makers and collectors who love Izannah Walker dol...