May 17, 2019
Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Dominique de Merteuil
Little and Large antique dolls and dresses is an exhibition which opens today at The Fashion Museum in Bath. It’s one of my favourite museums in the UK and the first one that I visit when travelling to the enchanting county of Somerset.
The Fashion Museum is one of the world’s great museum collections of historical and contemporary fashionable dress, situated in the beautiful World Heritage City of Bath. Designated as a Collection of Outstanding National Significance by Arts Council England, the Fashion Museum collection includes fashionable dress for women, men and children, from the 1600s to the present day.
A new permanent display, Collection Stories, opened today with some incredible and never been seen before items. The Little and Large exhibition is just part of the out-of-this-world displays. I’m very excited to share with you all the pictures of antique “fashion” dolls, showcased alongside life-size dresses from the same period of time.
This beautiful fashion doll is from the 1870s
- Description: This antique doll is dressed in a checked silk dress, with a handkerchief in the pocket.
- Original catalogue: “Doll 13” long, China head, forearms and lower legs. Long blonde hair and blue eyes. Dressed in drawers, blue and white woollen petticoat, long white cotton petticoat, plaid silk skirt and jacket – blue being the main colour. Grey boots with side buttons moulded with china legs. c.1880
- A typical doll of the 1870s / 1880s, manufactured in large quantities in Germany, smaller versions were popular for doll houses. The outfit is probably bespoke to the doll, possibly later and made from contemporary fabric as plainer versions and examples in regional French or German costumes are common.”
Antique “fashion” doll in a pale blue dress
- English wax Fashion doll from circa the 1880s in a blue princess line dress. The garment was most likely made in Paris, where all the best garments for dolls were produced in the 19th Century.
Bodice and skirt from the 1880s
- Beautiful pale blue ruched front princess line bodice and skirt made of silk.
Antique “fashion” doll in a plum dress
Breathtaking “fashion” doll with wax head in plum satin and cream lace dress from the 1870s. Accessorised with knitted socks and kid ankle strap shoes to match the dress perfectly.
This doll has all her accessories – earrings and pearl necklace, ribbons in her hair, shoes that perfectly match her dress and all the layers of underwear – the petticoats and the knickerbockers that helped to form the fashionable silhouette. She even has a floral corsage at her shoulder. All these accessories create the total fashionable look of the time and made the doll highly fashionable accessories to its owner too!
Antique bodice and skirt
“Plum coloured satin dress with narrow woven borders of small flowers, lilies of the valley and roses, trimmed with ecru lace.
The dress has 12 matching metal buttons on the front of the bodice. The skirt has 2 tiers of pleating with a flounce of lace in between. Three-quarter length sleeves have had later alteration. The 1880s”
Antique “fashion” doll from 1874
This adorable “fashion” doll from circa 1874 is dressed in a white alpaca dress and jacket with a purple check, braid and buttons. White cotton drawers and white petticoat underneath.
Day dress from circa 1876
Beautiful day dress made of purple and mauve check taffeta. Bodice buttoned down the front. Sleeves with pleated frills of brownish mauve plain taffeta. Skirt trimmed with similar frills and also draped folds of the plain taffeta. circa 1876
Fashion doll in a purple dress
Description: “Circa 1880s doll with bisque porcelain head, shoulders and arms. Purple silk skirt and bodice.
A good quality fashion doll, popular 1860s to 1880s with realistic body shape designed to show off the latest fashion.”
Breathtaking bodice and skirt from the 1880s
The dark wine-coloured satin dress is trimmed with velvet and has a pleated border to the skirt. A double row of buttons on the bodice.
Fashion Museum BathLittle and Large antique dolls and dresses exhibition