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Doll

Doll

  • Place of origin:

    Yorkshire (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1930s (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Merrythought Limited (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Felt, material and cloth

  • Museum number:

    B.128-2010

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Merrythought is an old term for a wishbone from a bird. Merrythought Toys opened their first factory in 1930 in Coalbrookdale, now Ironbridge. However Merrythought toys first began in 1919 when W.G.Holmes went into partnership with G.H Laxton and a small spinning mill was opened to make mohair yarn for the toys, which was imported from Turkey, South Africa and other areas. Some of the original employers for Merrythought were previously employed by Chad Valley. One particular employer was hearing impaired and mute, Florence Atwood, and went on to produce the entire range of toys for the first Merrythought line in 1931, some of which are still in production today. She became chief designer for Merrythought until her death in 1949.
MGM studios in Hollywood worked with Merrythought to produce their characters in soft toy form. However by 1960 MGM wanted higher and higher royalties for their copyright characters and so the company stopped producing them for MGM.
Production ceased in the large factories during the war years, however they moved to nearby smaller factory spaces and continued to produce some of their toys.
In 1933 dolls were added to the production line. But by the 1950s dolls were not as important and animals once again took centre stage, particularly pyjama cases. In 1982 Merrythought began to export to the USA to meet the demands of the American teddy bear collector.
This Cinderella doll is part of the character dolls that Merrythought produced and in particular their Pantomime range.

Physical description

Moulded felt face character doll with painted features depicting the fairytale character Cinderella. Stuffed stockinette body with hand stitched limbs and stitched fingers. Doll is wearing white cotton shorts and brown and orange net and felt dress with yellow felt patches. String cord is tied in criss cross pattern at front of dress across the chest. Cinderella comes complete with yellow and brown felt bonnet tied with orange ribbon under the chin and brown felt shoes, the right shoe has a hole in the toe which is supposed to be there to complete the scruffy, dirty look of 'Cinders'. This doll is complete with the Merrythought trademark mohair, a blonde wig underneath the bonnet. There is an embroidered label of Merrythought on the underside of the left foot. The doll has slightly dirty and blackened nose and forehead. The leg and arm are coming slightly unstitched in places and some of the material on the left leg has holes in, possibly due to moth damage.

Place of Origin

Yorkshire (manufactured)

Date

1930s (manufactured)

Artist/maker

Merrythought Limited (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Felt, material and cloth

Marks and inscriptions

'Merrythought Hygienic Toys. Made in England.'
Embroidered label sewn onto the bottom of the left foot

Dimensions

Height: 30 cm

Historical context note

This soft toy is from Daniel Agnew's collection. He is best known for running Christie's famous Teddy Bear auctions from 2000 to 2007, but his passion for Teddy Bears and all toys goes back much further than that. His mother is a well-respected antique dealer known throughout Britain. As a child he was fascinated with the bits and pieces that she bought home from her various buying trips. Daniel started to attend auctions and shows with her at the weekends and as a child of 9 or 10, what caught his eye most were the toys.

Descriptive line

Doll, felt faced, depicting fairytale character Cinderella with felt and net dress and felt shoes, Merrythought Limited, Yorkshire, 1930s.

Categories

Dolls & Toys; Children & Childhood

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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