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The Best Of Parian And Dresden Dolls
The best of the Parian or Dresden dolls were made between 1850 and 1860. Most of the heads after 1860 were of coarser clay and not so fine in modeling. Of course there are exceptions, and indeed there is great variation even in heads of the same model. We have seen Countess Dagmar heads that were fine and lovely and others that were really hack work.
One of the most beautiful heads made before 1860 and a favorite among collectors, if we are to judge by the number who have it, is the Empress Eugenic, which may have been intended for a portrait of the young Empress of France. This doll is found in many parts of the country.Mrs. Edmund Porter of Reading, Vermont, for instance, has three-two of different sizes in the same design, the other slightly different. On each the golden hair is arranged in a chignon or waterfall with a green or black net. On one side of the front of the head is an elaborate decoration of pinkish gold luster; on the other side there is some silver luster. Some collectors mistakenly call this hair net a "snood" but the "silken snood" is something quite diflcrent-a ribbon which the Scotch maiden bound in her hair as a token of her virginity.
The Toirzette or Mary Antoinette doll is supposed to represent another Empress of France as she played at farming in the Petite Trianon with her maids. This doll wears roses in her hair. Another favorite is the Catherine Channing head which has the luster ruff and an elaborate arrangement of hair with jeweled combs. The Countess Dagmar, popular in both Parian and china, came out about 1870. Collectors often include among their dolls fine modern reproductions as well as original old ones. Replicas of many types have been made with great skill and artistry. In California, Mrs. Clear has produced beside the Jenny Lind, outstanding china head types and some good Parians. One of her latest Blonde-bisqucs is a replica of the Toinette doll, very lovely and delicately colored, with three hand-carved pink roses in the blonde hair. Mrs. Clear has also made some originals. Those representing George and Martha Washington equal the best. of the old Dresdens; in some ways, they are even finer and are included in many discrimimasiog collections. Mrs. Clear's dolls were designed by the distinguished American artist, Martha Oathout Ayres.
The "Bonnet" dolls, so-called because their hats or bonnets of various types are molded on their heads, are made of Stone-bisque and are small and medium-sized. These are favorites with some collectors among them Mrs. Byran Peckham, part of whose collection is shown here. Mrs. Peckham also collects papier-maches, Dresdens, china-heads, and others.