Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Antique Articulated Paper Doll - Della Fox

My newest Victorian Articulated Paper Doll 
(believe to be the actress Della Fox) arrived in the mail today.

After - This is what she looks like after lots of digital repairs

This large Victorian doll was made by L&B (Littauer & Boysen - Berlin c 1887 - 1920) in Germany around the the turn of the century and in this particular example her paper has gotten very brittle over time; so unfortunately she was damaged in shipping and has a broken arm.

Before - This is what she looked like after I took her brads out and scanned her
 She had a few other issues: The vintage brads she was put together with had started to corrode causing some issues to the paper. The holes in the arms were put in the wrong place and the brads used were way to large causing the doll to have huge holes where there should only have been small ones. She also lost part of a finger on the gloved hand that is damaged. However - for being over 100 years old she is still in hanging in there.

This is what she looked like when I pulled her out of the shipping envelope.
Originally when this doll was produced she was intended to come with blue gloved hands and bloomered legs that had blue stockings and shoes to match her bodice. This doll also came in several sizes. The one I purchased is the largest and would make a doll @14 inches tall after she is assembled.

This is what a set of the smallest sized dolls would have originally looked like. Note- the smaller dolls are wearing necklaces. The larger versions of these dolls would be almost identical except that I'm finding that they don't have necklaces.

The great thing about the doll I just received is that she came with black gloved hands and black stockinged legs with ballet slippers. These limbs were originally a separate purchase as a double set you could use with your existing dolls. L&B model number for these were #2785

This is what a set of original Black stocking limbs would have looked like.
I'm still looking to add an uncut set of these to my growing collection.

I was sad to see my new doll had been damaged in shipping; however I still find her to be a lovely addition even with all her flaws. The good thing is I will be able to fix all her issues in photo shop and print good quality pieces to use in my altered art projects.

I'm always looking to add more of these dolls to my collection or for additional information about these L&B Dancing Dolls; so please leave a comment if you can tell me more.

Grins and Giggles
Evelyn (EKDuncan)


  1. The second image is absolutely amazing. Unintentional modern art through time's corrosion. Thank you for sharing.

  2. i am making an interactive dancer images from this page. you can always find the current state of development here:
    many thanks!

    Mark Baldridge

  3. Hey Mark - what a fun project! I'll keep checking back in to see the progress.

    These types of paper dolls were also called "Jumping Jacks" and it's fun to visualize her doing just that with the animation you have created so far.

    Thanks for letting me know you liked her enough to use her in your artwork project. Very cool!

    Please feel free to post this blog page as reference for the dancer's image. I love these Victorian doll images and enjoy knowing they are getting a second life in the current century.

  4. More of these Victorian articulated dolls can be seen on my blog at the following posts:










  5. thanks! I will take them all! the goal is to have the user create a dance and then "teach" it to dozens of similar dolls who then sort of kickstep across the screen. Still very much in "beta" It's been refined just a bit. RIght now I sort of like that it's difficult to get a "good" dance out of it, but I'll make it easier.
    i guess since i make the rules i get to name the dance. I call this one
    Tar Baby!
    always the same link, updated as the project is updated:

    Also, I'm adding a link to *this* page that will remain on the "state" page for my project, ongoing.

    PS, do you know what they would have worn?

    1. Hey again Mark - sounds like so much fun. All the ladies work together well since they were created by the same company at about the same time period so they should make an great "line dance" troupe for you.

      Back in the day, they dolls would have been dressed by creating clothing using crepe paper and trims. The company that sold them in the US was called Dennison and they made a beautiful heavy duty crinkled crepe paper. So they marketed the dolls to be dressed using their product; however fabric and paper clothes might have also been used to adorn the ladies.

      I personally like to use images of upside-down fans for skirts and a pretty patterned paper cut to the shape of the torso to create a fun corset look. I really don't think there is a wrong way to dress them so have at it.

      Here are a few links to see how the might have looked all dolled up.

      (scroll down a bit till you get to the lamp side screen - this shows one of the dolls dressed in a full round crepe paper skirt in the 1905 Dennison catalog)

      If you look at the very first "artist doll" on this post - though not one of these antique ladies; I believe a very creative soul back in the day would have made just such an outfit for one of the L&B dolls and then had it framed.

      Hope then help you out a bit.

      Thanks so much for the link back; it is appreciated.