Friday, September 17, 2010

Market Master's House, Day Five. Porcelain Doll Parts!

This post is from Nichole Sorenson-Mutchie from the Maryland State Highways:
Three units have are now complete (TU 9, 10 and 11) and new units (TU 13, 14, and 15) have been opened based on shovel test results. Within the first few levels, each of these units found various doll parts. Mike reminded me that I did a blog post about dolls last year from the Magruder House, so I decided the tradition must continue!
The cluster of peach colored pieces in the upper left of the picture represents two different unglazed bisque porcelain heads. One piece shows a portion of a large eyebrow and eyelashes. Given the size of the painted eyebrow, the doll head must have been quite large, like the example pictured below. Bisque porcelain dolls were introduced in the 1860s.

The doll on the nearly complete doll on the right is also an unglazed bisque doll. The body was found in the first level of TU 14 and the head found in the following level. This doll is known as a “penny doll”, “Frozen Charlotte”, or “bathing dolls”. These were produced from the late 1800s to about 1930. The body is all bisque whereas the doll described above would have had a fabric torso with porcelain limbs. Below is another example of a bathing doll.

The last doll has me a bit stumped. The porcelain is glazed, unlike the other dolls. The attached arms, size, and porcelain torso makes it look like a penny doll, but it shouldn’t be glazed. Early “China dolls” with white glazed heads had fabric bodies so our example doesn’t fit. What these dolls do tell us is that children played in this area during the 19th and early 20th century. These children may not have had a big impact on the history of the site, but these few doll pieces are clues to their presence amongst the nails, animal bone, and bottle glass.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post! You saved me a lot of time googling...I have been looking through assemblages at my site in Southern Maryland, the 19th c. component of Historic St. Mary's City, and we have an unglazed bisque doll, albeit a little more complex with the bonnet, etc. (picture: )

    Do you recommend any resources for more information?