Thursday, October 4, 2012

Royal L&B Articulated Paper Doll Gets a New Look

Hey all - I know it's been a while since I've posted but I've been working a special project I think you'll enjoy.  Those who follow my posts, know I'm a collector of vintage L&B Articulated Paper Dolls; especially the beautiful ladies that were produced in the late 1800's.

I love the amazing embossed quality of them and the am always on the look out to add another to my collection.  Occasionally, I am very fortunate and am able to purchase a perfect and fully intact doll such as the current "Queen" of my collection.  She's made an appearance on several of my posts including the very fist post that launched my blog back in 2010.  
Sadly, most of the time the dolls I'm able to purchase are damaged and in need of digital repair and my recent acquisitions required quite a bit of digital restoration before I felt they were post worthy.

I also decided to add a new twist to my doll collection (at least the digital versions) by altering them so I have a variety of color choices to play with.  Today I start a new series based on my L&B Ballerina and "Prima Donna" articulated paper doll collection.  It only seemed fitting that I start this new series off with the grand dame of my collection so here she is in one of her new looks.

There will be many more dolls to come so keep checking in to see what the latest lady will be.

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Black Costume

 I know so many of you crafters enjoy creating with these dolls but it can get a bit dull using the same image over and over, so I hope there new color variations will add a bit of fun to your projects.
I've even had a bit of fun and added in coordinating torsos to this one just in case you were tired of the plain white ones that usually accompany the dolls.  Naturally you can use the torso as a template for your own individual creation or use it as is with this doll.

To assemble the doll
 Mount the printed doll onto heavy cardstock or light weight backing board that can be easily cut. 
Next cut out all the parts and lightly sponge the sides of the cut edges with a neutral colored ink.
(sponging ink on the cut edge helps remove the raw white of the paper you print the doll on - this step in optional but I think it make a huge difference in the final product so I hope you give it a try.)
Use a small hole punch and mini brads or eyelets to assemble if you want her to have 
"moving parts" or use adhesive of your choice if you want her to keep a permanent pose.
Finally - you can leaver her as is and have a "Corset" doll or you can dress her up 
and give her a fun new look using any number of embellishments or clothing options.

Here are a few of my previous posts showing a few costuming options 

This is what the actual paper doll from my personal  collection looks like.
A scanned image of the original paper doll in my personal collection

 The actual paper doll is a thick embossed clayboard with a very shiny surface and due to age the material is so brittle that if you attempted to bend it, it would actually snap and break.  
I have several broken pieces in my collection that attest to the fragility of these aged beauties. 
 Using a digital version for crafting is a wonderful way to work with these dolls 
without the expense or stress of owning and storing an original.
The original color of her dress and shoes is an odd green gold color.

German company L&B (Littauer & Boysen) started producing these beautiful, high embossed 
dolls in the late 1880's and continued making them into the early 1900's. 
Most of these early Ballerina and Prima Donna dolls are based on popular stage actresses or royal ladies of the day.  This particular doll is presumed to be Queen Alexandra the wife of King Edward VII of England; who was know for the tall "dog collar" necklaces she wore her entire adult life, to conceal a scar on her neck.  Some believe this doll to be actress actress Lillie Langtry who ironically was King Edward VII's mistress from 1887-1880 when he was just the Prince of Wales. 
I'll let you decide if you think she is wife or mistress???

Queen or Mistress??? - images of Alexandra and Lily Langtry

 When viewing photos of Queen Alexandra and Lily Langtry together I can see why there may be confusion as to what image the doll in question represents. The two ladies favored each other in looks to a great extent. But I still believe the L&B doll for this post is Queen Alexandra based on the collar of pearls and crown like ornament in her hair.  I also believe L&B made a doll to represent Lily as one of the "bloomer" girls in their doll series and I've shown that doll head below the crowned one for you to compare.

More vintage images of Queen Alexandra can be seen - HERE
If you want to read a bit more about actress Lily Langtry you might enjoy -  THIS post
(FYI - Mrs. Langtry went by the spelling of "Lillie" in England and "Lily" in America)
she was also known as "The Jersey Lily"

These are the other Altered color versions 
for this "Royal" paper doll.

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Aqua Costume

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Gold Costume

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Plum Costume

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Rose Costume

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Seafoam Costume

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - Silver Costume

Digitally Altered Version of my original vintage 1880 paper doll by L&B  - White Costume

I hope you like my new rendition on a vintage favorite.  
I have many more L&B beauties to share with you so check back in to see them all.

Most of the L&B articulated Ballerina and Prima Donna dolls I'll be posing will have interchangeable parts with other dolls in the series.  I've done my best to size each doll so you can mix and match parts; however since the original dolls came in various sizes you may on occasion have to tinker with the size of one image to get it to work with the parts from a different doll.

I'll even end the series with a few "Gothic" versions that I call Vampire Brides.
I hope you find them a special Halloween Treat.

I love to hear from you guys so if you like the dolls and are enjoying the posts please let me know.

Till Next Time...


  1. Hello,
    Soooooooo WOW!!!! Sooooooo gorgeous!!!
    I love these graceful victorian ballerinas!!!!
    Thank you sooooooooooooooo much!!!
    Interesting these two websites you mention.
    Many many many thanks!!!
    Have a good week-end!

    1. Hey Sylvie - Yes, this is a favorite doll in my collection and she is practically perfect regarding condition. I'm glad you like her in all her new colors.

      I always seem to be doing research to try and figure out more about these L&B Ballerina - Prima Donna dolls, so I stumble on some interesting websites along the way. Luckily in the past some of the sellers knew which actress or famous person a doll represented but other of the dolls in my collection, I'm still trying to discover who they are/were. It's not an easy process and I wish I could find a website that showed all the dolls they made and who they were. It's been an interesting hunt.


  2. Hey Evelyn... Thanks for sharing your lovely collection.... I use these historical images quite often in my paper dolls for inspiration... and was so pleased to find your beautiful work here.... Great Blog...Hugs

    1. Thanks Zaa - I'm so glad you are enjoying the blog and the dolls!