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  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    1880-1889 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fritz Bartenstein (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax, composition, cloth, card

  • Credit Line:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Doll with a wax head representing a young caucasian child with fixed blue glass eyes, moulded and painted features, and strands of fair hair showing around the edge of its cap. The doll has two interchangeable faces, one serene with a gently smiling closed mouth, the other with frowning eyes and brows and the area around the mouth painted red in a circle to represent it as open in the act of crying or yelling. Only one face is intended to be visible at a time, with the other hidden beneath a metal cap which is covered with a white bonnet; the shoulders are of composition moulded to show the upper part of a white garment with a collar. The lower arms are of wax over composition, and the lower legs are of composition; the upper arms and legs are of cloth stuffed with sawdust. The body is formed from a cloth-covered cylinder of card which contains the mechanisms for the sound and the turning of the head, both of which are operated by strings at the side of the waist.
The doll also has a woollen cloak trimmed with woollen fringe.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


1880-1889 (made)


Fritz Bartenstein (made)

Materials and Techniques

Wax, composition, cloth, card

Marks and inscriptions

said to be stamped on doll at front

Object history note

Bought at auction at Bonhams for £80 in November 1971

Descriptive line

Doll with a wax head with two interchangeable faces representing a young caucasian child; probably made by Fritz Bartenstein; Germany, 1880-98

Production Note

The doll is similar to a known Bartenstein illustrated on p 49 of The Collector's Encyclopaedia of Dolls by D S, E A and E J Coleman. Bartenstein acquired three patents for double-faced dolls between 2880 and 1881 (one patent of September 1881 included a mechanism-operating string to come out of the side of the body).


Wax; Composition; Cloth; Card


Moulding; Stitching

Subjects depicted



Dolls & Toys; Children & Childhood


Museum of Childhood

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