Little People in Porcelain
A Brief History of Half Dolls
These lovely ladies first appeared in the mid 1800’s and have graced our homes periodically ever since: the height of their popularity being about 1920’s to 1940’s, and were used to adorn or hide an otherwise useful item or solely as decoration. Some of their uses as their names suggest are, pincushion, broom whisk, teacosy dolls. They come in all different shapes, actions, colours and sizes, ranging from approximately 2cm upwards. The largest that I have seen, to date, is 18cm high.
Half dolls are in three basic categories, based on overall design.
1. Those with their hands and arms molded close to the body, sometimes holding flowers or a fan. These are quite sturdy and could be used as handles on e.g. broom whisk or powder puff.
2. Those with their arms away from, but returning to the body, thus forming an opening. Examples could be with hand on hip and/or touching the hair.
3. Those with their arms and hands designed to be away from their bodies. These are much more delicate and their survival rate is greatly reduced, as you can appreciate. The arms are added on as soon as possible after they are released from the mold and greater skill is needed in producing such magnificent works of art.
Antique half dolls are identified by a number that is incised into the base and is hidden by the skirt. These dolls can then be traced back to the potteries from whence they were made.
A Group of Reproduction Half Dolls
Listed in our catalogue
1 2 3
Half Dolls from our private collection
Half Dolls from our
Modern Reproduction of Half Dolls
The modern half dolls, which are mostly reproductions of these antiques, are blessed with ladies’ names, which is a rather delightful way to identify them.
Most half dolls have molded clothes, as well as hair and hats. However, some are not dressed, therefore giving you the opportunity to design your own outfit for them; bodice as well as the skirt.
As half dolls are mostly hollow inside, such is the nature of slip cast molding, they can become quite versatile.
Check out our Projects page for a couple of different ways that you can display your half doll.
An easy Guide to sizing of our Half Dolls
Petite Half Doll up to 6cm Small Half Doll 6-7cm
Small Medium Half Doll 7-8cm Medium Half Doll 8-9cm
Medium Large Half Doll 9-10cm Large Half Dolls Over 10cm
Half Dolls from our