Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Deepings Dolls Offers One-of-a Kind Handpainted Treasures

I recently received an email from Tansy Roberts, the business manager for Pendlerook Designs - the home of Deepings Dolls - inviting me to look at their historical line. I checked out their website and was enchanted by their intricately painted wood dolls.

"Each Deepings Doll is unique. Far more detailed than the historical wooden dolls that inspired them, such as the Russian Baboushka or the Gypsy peg doll, they are hand-turned figurines of Tasmanian White Sassafras, their historical costumes individually hand-painted by a range of Australian artists. "
Deepings Dolls were first created in 1984.

"The Deepings Dolls began in 1984 as simple shapes turned from celery top pine by Adrian Hunt at his Nicholls Rivulet studio, “The Deepings,” in the Huon area of southern Tasmania. These turned pieces were then decorated with simple lines in sepia ink by a young German woman, Friedericke Schmaltz, detailing seams, buttons, collars, locks of hair and ruffles of fabric. Friedericke developed the concept with Adrian from the early European wooden dolls with which they were both familiar. Adrian and his wife Roslyn marketed the Deepings Dolls through their studio, and introduced them to a variety of retail outlets around Australia and worldwide. The only examples of these early dolls still remaining at Adrian’s studio are three or four in the family's own collection.

Since those early years, there has been steady evolution of style, range of design and process – from added touches of colour to the mostly painted surfaces seen now. A change was made from celery top pine to white sassafras in 1988, it proving a more amenable surface to work, both for turner and Doll Artist.

These changes have been largely attributable to the imaginative flair and technical expertise of each new Doll Artist who has worked with Adrian Hunt through the years. Two of the current five Doll Artists have been painting the Deepings Dolls from the very early days, and are still enjoying the challenge each new batch brings.

Currently, the individual figures are hand-turned by Adrian Hunt and Christine Baker. The five Doll Artists are Marie, Margaret, Anne, Ineke and Jilli.

In 2006, Adrian and Roslyn Hunt retired from the Deepings Dolls business, passing the Deepings Dolls brand and product to Jilli and Tansy Roberts of Pendlerook Designs. Jilli has been painting Deepings Dolls for twenty years, and her daughter Tansy has taken on the role of business manager. Pendlerook Designs is continuing in the tradition set by the Deepings Woodturner, with the same Doll Artists and woodturners as before, and the same commitment to a special, quality product."

I couldn't resist their Henry VIII and have ordered him to add to my English Tudor collection.

Alpha Farnell Historical Dolls

Once again I have stumbled across a historical doll on Ebay produced by a company I have not encountered before. This George VI doll was produced by the J.K Farnell Toy Company as part of their Alpha Farnell line.

Starting in the mid 1800's, Farnell made an assortment of items, including pincushions and tea cozies. But with the death of John Kirby Farnell in 1897, the toy company changed its product line. Perhaps its most popular product was Teddy bears that were first produced in 1908.

It's most popular line, Alpha Bears were introduced in the 1920's. They were made of Yorkshire mohair and are thought to be the original inspiration for Winnie the Pooh.

The company was eventually sold to Action Toycraft Ltd.
in 1968 and renamed Twyford Works. Eventually, the company closed its doors in the mid 1970's.

Monday, December 04, 2006

R. John Wright Teddy Roosevelt doll crops up on Ebay

Today, my eBay alert for Teddy Roosevelt character dolls sent me a notice of a beautifully detailed Teddy Roosevelt doll produced by R. John Wright. I had never heard of or seen one of these dolls so I was intrigued and looked up his creator on the web.

"Naturally artistic, R. John Wright always felt his path would lead to a creative career. Born in Michigan, John attended Wayne State University in a liberal arts program with an emphasis on art and literature. Following college, John traveled to New England and settled in New Hampshire.

While browsing in a bookstore, John came across a book The Doll authored by Carl Fox. Intrigued with the profusion of photographs featuring antique dolls, and having recently made the acquaintance of porcelain dollmaker, Gail Wilson, John began to contemplate the possibility of a career in dollmaking. Two years later he met his future wife and creative partner, Susan, who was a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. Little did she suspect that her meeting with John would redirect her talents and destiny to doll making. The couple settled in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1974.

First Doll In 1976, when he was abruptly laid off from his job as a clerk in the town hardware store, John decided to try his hand at dollmaking. That afternoon he began to sew a crude figure - his first doll - out of the only fabric at hand, a piece of pale yellow flannel. John had never sewn anything before, but this first effort came quickly and the process seemed to hold much potential - he could only get better! Before the first doll was completed, he was already thinking of the improvements he would make on the second one.

Sewn Face Doll
Hillbilly Dolls
Within a few weeks of having been employed as a clerk in the hardware store, John made a group of six similarly constructed men dolls out of flesh-colored felt. These dolls featured rudimentary rustic-style clothing and sheep's wool hair and beards.
He took these first dolls to a crafts gallery downtown where they were purchased on-the-spot to retail for the price of $28 each. During the next six months, John made and sold over a hundred of these primitive felt dolls to area craft stores. Susan increasingly helped John with the production and together they embarked on an intense period of research. Within six months the dolls advanced beyond the primitive stage and featured joints and more sophisticated clothing and accessories. Paddy and Kate

Working now as a creative team, the couple's doll work soon overtook their small ground-floor apartment turned into a makeshift doll factory. Exhibition in juried craft shows throughout New England provided the expanding wholesale and retail orders for the dolls. They soon began hiring assistants to come and help with the ever-increasing work load. One year after making his first doll, John sculpted the faces which would become his first molded felt dolls. Designs soon followed depicting Character Dolls with ethnically-inspired costumes and accessories. Lillian, Jesse and Peter

The delightful Little Children Series premiered in 1980 around the time of the birth of the Wright's first child. The child dolls introduced a new look from R. John Wright, and the demand from collectors increased. The business moved to Cambridge, New York in the early 1980's where a highly skilled work force was trained and specialized machinery developed to increase production.

In 2004 R. John Wright Dolls returned to Vermont moving their innovative and enterprising company to an idylic 17-acre setting on the outskirts of historic Bennington. The Wright's continue to oversee all phases, always stressing the highest quality materials, craftsmanship and integrity of design which for over twenty-five years have formed the cornerstones of all R. JOHN WRIGHT collectibles. - Official R. John Wright website.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ignite offers Julius Caesar and Roman Vexallarius

I noticed in my recent newsletter from Michigan Toy Soldier that they were offering all in-stock Ignite figures for 30% off so I hurried to their website to see which Ignite figures they had in stock. Since they were all listed, I called the store and discovered that I was able to order Julius Caesar, a Roman Vexillarius, a Norman (Viking) warrior and a Teutonic Knight. I was hoping to snag a Greek hoplite but alas, I was too late for that.

They arrived the other day and I was quite pleased with all but the Julius Caesar figure. He was dressed in a white cuirass with white trim and caligae (sandals) and most puzzling of all he had a smooth conical helmet with white wings??? I think I will email Ignite and see if I can get a standard Roman officer's helmet for him.

I was particularly pleased with the detail of the Roman Vexallarius. I only wish his wolf skin had been faux fur instead of soft vinyl.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Aiden of Oren dolls now offered in 7 1/2" sizes

As I have previously mentioned, I love the beautifully detailed medieval-themed dolls from Oren Village. Last night I received a flyer from the Doll Market and I see that Oren Village has released a new small sized series of their popular dolls. Right now Doll Market has them on sale for $12 each or all three for $20. Even though I already have the larger versions I couldn't pass up this offer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Legendary Dorothy Heizer dolls offered on Ebay

Today, I noticed a number of truly spectacular dolls created by Dorothy Heizer are being auctioned on Ebay.

"Dorothy Heizer Cloth Doll, Bonnie Prince Charlie, 1952, from a portrait, light blue silk coat with gold cord trim, Royal Stuart kilt and tartan, velvet sporran, holding blue hat, ht. 10 3/4 in.

Born in 1881 in Philadelphia, Dorothy Heizer attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she studied art, portraiture, and sculpture. In the early 1920s, while raising her young family in Essex Fells, New Jersey, she began making dolls. In this endeavor, all the elements of her formal art training were called into play. Her process included the development of a copper wire skeletal armature to enable posing of the body. This form was padded and covered in a fine crepe, as was the head. Her placement of the neck and head forward of the shoulders was innovative and gave an accurate human presentation. Her fine shaping and needle-sculpting of the features created unique portraits which were complemented by her delicate painting of the facial features with watercolors. All of these artistic elements received her unparalleled attention to detail.

Her subjects were varied and included historical personages, royalty, or subjects taken from notable paintings, such as Gainsborough's "Blue Boy". A fine record of her work was maintained by the family, and is recorded in Helen Bullard's 1972 publication, "Dorothy Heizer, The Artist and her Dolls". Heizer's dollmaking spanned four decades. In 1962, recognized as a legendary doll-maker, she became a charter member of NIADA, the National Institute of American Doll Artists. The dolls offered here are from the Wells family collection, garnered through the 1940s and 1950s, and noted by Bullard as one of the largest privately held collections."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ann Parker Dolls Feature Realistic Sculpture

I was very excited last week to be the successful bidder on another of Ann Parker's historical dolls. This time I won the Duke of Wellington, the victor of Waterloo and Napoleon's conqueror. I think the Ann Parker doll resembles this portrait of the Duke by Sir Thomas Lawrence quite closely.

When I was in London recently, I visited Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and saw a wax sculpture of the Duke rendered from one of his famous portraits as well. I'm not sure at what age the Duke was reproduced for Madame Tussaud's but his hair was portrayed as a lighter red frequently seen on natural redheads rather than the darker auburn of his historical portraits. Perhaps artists think the darker red is more elegant looking or something.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, (c. 1 May 176914 September 1852) was an Irish born British soldier and statesman, widely considered one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. Commissioned an Ensign in the British Army, he would rise to prominence in the Napoleonic Wars, eventually reaching the rank of Field Marshal.

Wellington commanded the Allied forces during the Peninsular War, pushing the French Army out of Portugal and Spain and reaching southern France. Victorious and hailed as a hero in England, he was obliged to return to continental Europe to command the Anglo-Allied forces at Waterloo, after which Napoleon was permanently exiled at St. Helena. Wellington was victorious over Napoleon and the French at each of six major battles, confirming his place as one of history's greatest generals and strategists.

Despite oft-cited similarities between Napoleon Bonaparte and Wellington, the strategies and tactics employed by both were diametrically opposed. Perhaps the main reason that Napoleon stands in many history texts above Wellington is that Napoleon offered radical changes in warfare in every respect, whereas Wellington's contribution to warfare lies more in the brilliant use of the old.

Napoleonic tactics were typified by massive conscript armies who advanced in tight columns to rout opposing forces. This was soon adopted by nearly every major participant in the war, with the chief exception of the British as well as the Spanish and Portuguese they trained. In almost every engagement, the tight-packed French columns (in which only the first two ranks and outer edges could fire) would advance, apparently unheeding of casualties. Against the ill-trained and panic-prone armies of the Austrians, Prussians, and the other allied powers, it was spectacularly successful. Against the disciplined and trained British regulars who stood in line in two ranks (thus permitting every man in line to fire), the column was a spectacular failure. Despite the demonstrated helplessness of the French column against the British line, the French commanders in Iberia continued to attack in column. (Indeed, column attacks were used even at the Battle of Waterloo.) Thus, in many instances, a single British battalion would defeat an entire French division.

Wellington is often viewed as a 'defensive general', despite the fact that many of his greatest victories (Assaye, Douro, Salamanca, Vitoria, Toulouse), were all offensive battles. In fact, on the defensive, Wellington made a number of mistakes, most famously at the battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, where a disaster was only averted by his quick thinking and the steadiness of the British and Portuguese troops in retreating under fire.

Strategically, Wellington also appears somewhat anachronistic, with the Peninsular War revolving partly upon the possession and besieging of fortified strongholds. Conventional military wisdom of the era, especially under Napoleon, dictated that the opposing field army was to be eliminated at any price necessary, before disease and wastage could reduce the attacking force to nothing. In pursuit of this aim, desperate measures would be taken, such as winter battles, forced marches, and privation alleviated only by foraging. Wellington's campaigns instead displayed carefully planned offensives, supported by a magnificent supply train, and tempered by subsequent consolidation of gains.

In other strategic areas however, Wellington seemed to forecast the tide of the future. The construction of the fortifications near Torres Vedras, and the subsequent attritional campaign which ensued, seems to typify the manner that warfare would evolve within the following century. He also cooperated closely with the British navy, a necessity for success on the water-bound Iberian Peninsula.

Tactically, Wellington capitalized on the reforms of Sir John Moore and the Duke of York by creating large units of independent infantry, often armed with rifles, who fought in both regular and irregular fashion. His relationship with his cavalry arm — as well as his cavalry commanders — was infamously stern and demanding." - Wikipedia

I laughed when one of our tour guides pointed out that Wellington had a nude statue of Napoleon produced for his office. When Wellington was asked why the statue was nude, he replied "I needed something to hang my hat on!"

The Duke of Wellington was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral and there I saw his funerary monument when my sister and I attended Palm Sunday services. His sarcophagus lies in the crypt and can be seen on a regular tour of the cathedral when services are not in session.

Anne Parker's dolls are some of the most realistically sculpted portrait dolls I have ever encountered. So far, I am fortunate to have four of her dolls in my collection now. In addition to the Duke of Wellington, I also have Admiral Lord Nelson, Henry VIII, and Anne Boleyn.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Benjamin Franklin a popular subject for character dolls

Although I had not originally intended to collect figures from American History, I found the number and variety of these dolls is so extensive I could not resist. One of the most popular figures from this period for doll artists is Benjamin Franklin. Not only was he an amazing individual from an intellectual perspective but he has a distinctive look that can be instantly recognized even in less detailed renditions.

"He was one of the most extraordinary human beings the world has ever known. Born into the family of a Boston candle maker, Benjamin Franklin became the most famous American of his time. He helped found a new nation and defined the American character. Writer, inventor, diplomat, businessman, musician, scientist, humorist, civic leader, international celebrity . . . genius." - Benjamin Franklin, PBS.

I was not sure when this doll that I found on Ebay was produced, until I saw another one like it offered on Ebay with the note that the doll was produced during America's bicentennial in 1976. There was no mention of the manufacturer so I'm afraid I still don't know who produced it. I bought it because I appreciate the detail of his features and the accuracy of his costume. Compared to this portrait painted by Charles Wilson Peale in 1785, shortly after Franklin's return from completing peace negotiations in England, I think it is a very good likeness for a relatively inexpensive effort.

His head, hands, and feet are made of a heavy composition. His clothing is made of thick felt.

Carlson dolls also produced Benjamin Franklin complete with his trademark bifocals. Franklin was interested in many health-related issues and developed surprisingly modern explanations for afflictions of his day including the common cold:

"In the 18th century, most people believed that wet clothing and dampness in the air caused the common cold. However, Franklin observed that sailors, who were constantly wearing wet clothing, remained healthy. After considering the matter on and off for several years, he eventually concluded: "People often catch cold from one another when shut up together in small close rooms, coaches, &c. and when sitting near and conversing so as to breathe in each other's transpiration." Before the knowledge of viruses and germs, Franklin had determined that the common cold was passed between people through the air. " -

He even made ground breaking observations about the effects of lead poisoning:

Franklin learned first-hand from the printing business that working with warm lead type caused his hands to become exceptionally stiff and sore. He discovered that some typesetters who warmed their type sometimes lost the complete use of their hands. Franklin decided to work with cold type from that point on. Years later, he visited a hospital in France that treated patients suffering from what was then called the "dry gripes" or "dry belly ache." In analyzing the list of patients, Franklin deduced that all of them were in professions where they were exposed to large quantities of lead. He corresponded with others interested in this health issue, exchanging observations and insights about the illness. Franklin concluded: "I have long been of the opinion that that distemper [dry gripes] proceeds always from a metallic cause only, observing that it affects among tradesmen those that use lead, however different their trades, as glazers, type-founders, plumbers, potters, white lead-makers and painters." Franklin's observations were among the earliest to link health problems with exposure to lead." -
To celebrate the life if this gifted founding father, Accoutrements has even honored him with an action figure. This is one of a series of "real" superheroes featured in Accountrements product line.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mary Branca's doll artistry featured at Superior Wisconson Museum

Doll artist Mary Branca produced historical dolls in the 1940s. Each doll is one-of-a-kind and features a fired clay composition head, hands, and feet. A collection of her dolls are featured in the Douglas County Historical Society Museum in Superior, Wisconsin.

The museum's curator explains, "Mary was born in 1893 to John and Caroline Branca. She was raised in Superior, WI., which is the government seat of Douglas County. Her parents were from Milan, Italy and owned a confectionery shop on the main street of Superior. Sometime in the 1920s Mary moved to Chicago to study at the Art Institute and later became a designer in a millinery firm. It was in her spare time that she made these dolls from her own formula, which she never divulged. She made their wigs, shoes, jewelry and costumes. When she finished a doll she sent it home to Superior, where her father built two beautiful cases for them. Mary had planned to create a doll museum in Chicago but never did. Her sister, Annette donated the dolls to us when Mary died in 1975. Mary was buried in Chicago.

This is one of five of Mary Branca's dolls that I have added to my collection. The others are Mary Queen of Scots, French Empress Josephine (wife of Napoleon), Queen Victoria, and a large doll of King Charles II of England. Most of the dolls average approximately 12" high but the King Charles II is about 17" tall.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Historical Applehead dolls

Recently I won a wonderfully costumed and unique Henry VIII applehead doll created by the late Mary Winsheimer, a prominent member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. I understand Mary won a number of awards for her dolls and was featured on TV Channel 8 Lancaster demonstrating her techniques.

I purchased the doll from her son who also had a Viking Warrior and Pope Paul II dolls handmade by his mother as well. I'm sure I'll be pleased with them when they arrive too.

"Apple-headed dolls are part of along, fascinating history . . . one that extends back to prehistoric times, when primitive puppets appeared in ceremonial magic displays. Tribal healers in Africa and Asia often used dolls in their medicinal rituals . . . and, even today, the ancient superstition of causing sympathetic harm is preserved whenever a mob burns the stuffed figure of an unpopular person "in effigy".

Dollmaking has a rich-and innocentheritage in America, too, where the Indians taught early settlers the art of constructing such playthings from native raw materials. Corn husks and cobs were most often employed . . . as well as wood, lobster shells, nuts, twigs, and gourds. Just about any object that could be bent (or carved) into a human shape, clothed, and hugged was fair game!

The Seneca Indians were reportedly the first people to make dolls out of apples . . . but the craft was later adopted by mountaineers in Appalachia, where such handmade toys are still produced as part of the area's cottage industry." - Mother Earth News

The article also contains instructions for making your own unique Applehead dolls!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Oren Village offers beautifully detailed medieval dolls

A couple of weeks ago I received a sale flyer from The Doll Market and was excited to see that the beautifully detailed dolls from Oren Village were offered for only $29 each (They normally retail for $120 each). These beautiful little dolls are dressed in detailed clothing from the Middle Ages and are presented in a display box that resembles a large leather-bound book that reminds me of Frodo's "A Hobbit's Tale". Naturally, I could not resist and ordered both Aidan and Lilly!

Welcome to Oren Village - About Us: "Oren Village is a collectible doll company featuring dolls and accessories based on an enchanting medieval story. A new book will be released each year, and with it a new line of dolls. Each doll is limited in production to the year it is featured as a character in the story. Two specific lines of dolls are offered, the Collector's Series and the Travel Dolls.

The Collector's Series offers a product specifically designed with the collector in mind. Ranging in height from 10' to 12', these finely handcrafted dolls feature beautiful outfits, an identification medallion, saddle stand and unique accessories. In addition, each will come with a CD featuring a beautiful song from the book. All of this is wrapped up in a package as unique as the product itself - a book box bound with the look and feel of real leather, uniquely printed with gold lettering to identify the specific doll that is entrusted with. The book box is conveniently stored just like a book on a bookshelf, and will make for a fantastic collection.

The Travel Dolls offer a product designed to meet the increasingly popular demand for smaller, portable dolls. These 6.25' - 8' dolls are smaller replicas of the larger Collector Series dolls, and are made with the same dedication to quality and detail. They each come with a handy travel journal to document the exciting destinations to come, all packaged in an adorable leather like trunk."

Making Memories Patterns by Ellen E. Thomsen

Today I was searching for a website I have visited in the past to purchase historical fashion patterns for dolls and found this site that offers patterns for wonderfully detailed historical costumes as well as patterns for shapely cloth dolls. They even have a pattern for a life-sized mannequin that you can make constructed on a PVC framework.

The patterns feature fashions from the 18th to the early 20th century for men, women, children, and infants. The patterns are sized for dolls 12" to 36" tall. The 36" patterns are designed for porcelain dolls. Most patterns are priced at $12 each.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Carlson costume dolls surprisingly detailed

When I first began collecting historical dolls, I made the arbitrary decision not to purchase dolls with child-like faces. But, I noticed that a line of dolls produced by Carlson, although having rather bland childish faces and open and shut eyes, were actually quite detailed in their historical costuming. Carlson dolls was initially a cottage business of a Maple Lake, Minnesota Indian tribe. Beginning in the 1950s, they produced a variety of dolls dressed in costumes to represent various Indian cultural groups. However, in my Ebay searches I discovered that they produced non-Indian dolls as well, often dressed in period costumes of the Revolutionary War but encompassing Frontier figures, Civil War figures, and even military personnel from various branches of the service and the military academy cadets as well.

The diminuitive size of Carlson dolls, 7 1/2" to 8" tall, makes them a perfect cabinet doll and selling in the range of $12 - $22 makes them relatively inexpensive to collect as well. Perhaps the most rare Carlson doll I have in my collection is a Spanish conquistador. In the last five years I have seen only one other like him. The pirate doll pictured here is also relatively rare. These modest dolls have even made their way into collections in other parts of the world. My Carlson cowboy and cowgirl were purchased from a collector in South Africa.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mundia Dolls Are Keeping The Tradition of French Dollmaking Alive

I have Ebay alerts that inform me anytime a doll comes up for bid that refers to King Louis. The day I received an alert about a Mundia doll of Louis XIV as a child I was thrilled. His costume was highly detailed and you could easily see the flamboyant future King in his delicate porcelain face. Best of all, I was able to add him to my collection for less than $75 thanks to a winning bid on Ebay.

Louis's costume includes little heeled shoes embellished with lavish bows. This 18th century shoe style was a departure from the previous male fashion of wearing a boot. A poem in a 1760s fashion catalog sums up the new style:

"Heels to bear the precious charge
More diminutive than large
Slight and brittle, apt to break
Of the true Italian make."

He also wears a high-crowned beaver hat that was gaining in popularity at the time over the longtime three-cornered tricorne hat, swathed with a rakish ostrich plume. His costume is further accented by a dramatic abundance of lace.

"Lace enjoyed a popularity in the Rococo period unprecedented in history. Where the wearing of lace during the 17th Century was restricted by law to the nobility, and during the 19th Century, by custom, to women, its use knew no such bounds during most of the 18th Century. Anyone who could possibly afford to, wore lace as a status symbol. The more money, the more lace.

"Alencon" lace was considered the most elegant and aristocratic, due to its rarity and high cost. Brussels, Mechlin and Binche laces were very popular until the 1750’s when they were eclipsed by Valenciennes lace and Blonde lace." - The Costumer's Manifesto

I searched the web for more Mundia historical dolls and found that they also produced a doll of Louis XVII - the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who was wrenched from his doomed mother on July 3, 1793 and is said to have died in the Temple prison on June 8, 1795 of tuberculosis. However, like the report of Anastasia's death a little over a century later, this report was viewed with doubt, especially by monarchists who wished to believe the Bourbon dynasty did not die with him.

"At first, it was widely believed both in France and Britain that the Committee of Public Safety (the radical governing body of the revolution) had murdered the child. Later public opinion came to favor the escape theory. In 1814 the historian of the newly restored French monarchy announced that Louis Charles had escaped and was still alive. He would not reveal his location however. The most common rumor was that royalists substituted another child in his place and spirited him to America where he would be safe.

The rumors did not fade with the passage of time. In 1846 authorities exhumed the mass grave where the child was buried. Only one showed evidence of tuberculosis. But he wasn't a perfect fit. The body appeared to be that of a slightly older child, in his middle to late teens. Of particular interest was the fact that the boy had already cut a wisdom tooth. In the years that followed, at least a hundred men claimed to be the ill-fated prince.

The most intriguing candidate was famous naturalist John James Audubon. Although he never publicly claimed it himself, Audubon was thought by many to be the real Louis. He was adopted at about the right time, if indeed Louis had escaped, and was the same age. On a visit to France in 1828, Audubon wrote an intriguing letter home to his wife. In it he said that, "patient, silent, bashful, and yet powerful of physique and of mind, dressed as a common man, I walk the streets! I bow! I ask permission to do this or that! I… who should command all!" - History Wiz

Again, I was very lucky and found him on closeout at The Doll Market for only $60 plus shipping. Mundia also offers a beautifully detailed doll of Louis XVII's mother Marie Antoinette.

I found an interesting article on that provides a history of Mundia dolls. Here's an excerpt:

"In the late 1800s, France ruled the world of dollmaking--their fashion dolls and later bebe dolls by firms such as Jumeau and Bru are some of the most prized dolls in the world. However, the end of the 1890s saw the beginning of the demise of the French dollmaking industry as France handed the porcelain dollmaking baton to Germany (the dollmaking baton was later passed on to the United States...but that is a topic for another article...). Throughout most of the 1900s on to this day, very few porcelain dolls have been produced in France that have been intended for worldwide distribution.

The Mundia company was founded by Gerard Hadijan in 1949. In the beginning, the company focused on the making of children's toys. Later, his wife Marita became interested in dollmaking. Their first efforts were antique reproduction porcelain dolls, costumed by Marita, whose own grandmother worked for a Parisian haute-couture house at the turn of the last century. Marita combined her love of haute-couture with her love of antique dolls, and wanted to create dolls that were affordable by many more people than could afford the actual antique dolls. This is why Marita started her dollmaking with antique reproductions. The Mundia line of dolls, as it exists today, has been in production for over 20 years, and today, Christine and Cécile, the children of Gerard and Marita have become noted dollmakers and the creative force behind Mundia. Today, the line-up of dolls includes original dolls made by many artists as well as antique reproduction dolls." - Keeping the Tradition of French Dollmaking Alive