China & Bisque Dolls

In the 1840s, china heads began to replace wooden ones in popularity. The earliest heads were usually a side product of the fine porcelain factories in Germany and Denmark, but these were quickly followed by china heads made specifically for toy manufacturers. Again Germany established herself as the leading producer of doll heads. According to Coleman’s Collector's Encyclopedia of Dolls, these features represent rarity in old china heads: glass eyes, swivel necks, painted brown eyes, , pierced ears and a bald head made for a wig.

In the 1850s, a new kind of china head came on the market. These were left unglazed or in the “biscuit” state. Coloring for the hair and facial features was fired into this mat china, giving it a more realistic appearance.

Although Germany was still the leader in the doll industry, the 1860s saw the evolution of the French doll into a distinctive type. Led by Jumeau, French doll makers began making beautiful doll heads of bisque mounted on bodies of kid leather. These dolls were elegantly clothed as ladies of fashion, and often had extensive wardrobes.