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Pedlar doll

Pedlar doll

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Head of carved, pickled and dried apple with glass eyes

  • Credit Line:

    Given by HM Queen Mary

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The head of this doll is made from an apple which has been carved and then preserved. There are several different methods, all of which use peeled apples. One is by carving, soaking in brine and then completely drying out. Another is to air dry the peeled apple and then carve it. Some 'wet' methods use vinegar or lemon juice mixed with salt. By the time the apple has finished the preservation process successfully and is ready for the finishing touches of paint, hair etc it has a firm wrinkled brown appearance which lends itself to the portrayal of characters and grotesques. 19th century examples are usually very hard, and have an almost wood-like texture.

Apple-headed dolls are still made, predominantly in Canada and the USA.

Physical description

Doll representing an old woman, the head made from a carved and preserved apple, with inserted glass eyes. She is dressed in a red cloak, print dress and fichu, black bonnet and white apron. She holds a basket of good to sell (mainly haberdashery items) including wool, disc pincushions, earrings, thread, a needle book, ribbons, and embroidery hoops.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1840 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Head of carved, pickled and dried apple with glass eyes


Height: 8 in

Object history note

Given by HM Queen Mary.

Descriptive line

Apple head doll representing an old woman made in England in about 1840


Apple; Glass


Carving; Pickling (preserving); Drying; Moulding


Dolls & Toys; Royalty


Museum of Childhood

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