Little and Large antique dolls and dresses exhibition


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 the china legs. c.1880


  • A typical doll of the 1870s / 1880s, manufactured in large quantities in Germany, smaller versions were popular for dolls 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.”

Little and Large antique fashion doll

Little and Large antique fashion doll


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.

Little and Large antique dolls and dresses exhibition

Little and Large fashion doll

Little and Large antique dolls and dresses exhibition.

Little and Large fashion doll

Antique “fashion” doll at The Fashion Museum.

Fashion Museum in Bath

The Fashion Museum.

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!

Little and Large fashion doll

Little and Large antique fashion doll

Little and Large fashion doll

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 which have had later alteration. The 1880s”

Little and Large fashion doll

Large and Little exhibition at the fashion museum

The Fashion Museum in Bath

The Fashion Museum in Bath

Little and Large fashion doll

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.

Little and Large fashion doll

antique fashion doll from the fashion museum in bath

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

antique dress the fashion museum bath

Little and Large antique doll and dress

Adorable antique “fashion” doll and dress from the Little and Large exhibition.

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.”

Little and Large antique doll

Fashion History: “This doll is wearing a fashionable choker and her dress, with a shaped skirt and train, is trimmed with lace.”

Breathtaking bodice and skirt from the 1880s

  • The dark wine coloured satin dress is trimmed with velvet and has a pleated border to skirt. A double row of buttons on the bodice.

Little and Large fashion exhibition

Bodice and skirt, 1880s

Little and Large fashion doll and dress

Little and Large exhibition




4 Responses
  • Avatar
    May 20, 2019

    Thank you for sharing this! I love antique dolls and own a couple which my grandma left to me.

    I’m based in Paris but I think I will have to fly to Bath now to see this exhibition.

  • Avatar
    May 17, 2019

    Doll D is incredible!!!

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