Barbie thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Imagine Gallery, Small Worlds, Case 2, Shelf 1

This object consists of 8 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Barbie

Teenage Doll
1959 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This object is one of a collection given to the museum. This collection is quite important as it belonged to Dennis Arkinstall. Dennis worked in the toy industry for a company called Lines Brothers Ltd, they were mostly famous for their Tri-ang range of toys. Dennis was a sculptor and worked in the research and development of new toys for the company in particular the dolls which were produced under the Pedigree trade name. The catalogues highlight that their range of dolls are realistic and produced by a sculptor. We do not know when Dennis started working at the factory but we know that he was an influential figure in the designing of their most popular doll Sindy, which was produced in 1963.

This collection includes dolls from other manufactures as he would have collected them to inspire new ideas. They are often just heads, which was not uncommon as these were usually exported in large numbers and the bodies made at their destination as it was a cheap way to manufacture. The collection also includes moulds and experimental pieces from the factory as well as complete ones in their presentation boxes.

This particular object is a Barbie made by Mattel in 1960. Barbie was first launched at a 1959 New York toy fair wearing this black and white striped bathing suit.

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Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 8 parts.

  • Doll Accessory
  • Packaging
  • Packaging
  • Packaging
  • Doll Accessory
  • Doll Accessory
  • Doll Accessory
  • Doll
TitleBarbie (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
PVC, sythethic textile, printed card
Brief description
Barbie doll wearing a black and white swimsuit, made in 1959 by Mattel in USA
Physical description
A vinyl female doll with movable head, arms and legs. The nails and toenails are painted red. It has a fully made-up face, including red lipstick and heavy eyeliner. The doll has blue eyes and is wearing a pair of pearl earrings. Its hair is a red-brown colour and slightly curly at the front, and is worn in a ponytail. Her eyebrows match the colour of her hair and are painted on in a high arch.

The doll is dressed. Its bathing suit is strapless and has a seam down the front, the black lines are straight in the middle of the suit and become diagonal towards the top and bottom, and it has a low scoop back. The high heels are of black plastic and have a band which almost meets in the middle towards to the front. There is a pair of white sunglasses with blue tinted lenses.

The packaging consists of three parts. A plain cardboard box base in a rectangular shape, with a a sticker showing where the doll was purchased on the bottom. The lid is printed with images of Barbie wearing different outfits. The title 'Barbie TEEN AGE FASHION MODEL is printed round the box in black. The lid is cream. There are two parts of an inset for the box; cream on the exterior and brown underneath. They are both longer strips of card folded to support the doll in the box. One piece has a head shape cut in to it.

With the doll is a tag which reads, ' GENUINE Barbie By Mattel'. This is printed in gold on a cream piece of rectangular card. The reverse of these colours are printed on the other side.
Dimensions
  • Doll height: 295
  • Doll width: 74mm
  • Doll depth: 44mm
  • Bathing suit length: 70mm
  • Bathing suit width: 46mm
  • Shoes height: 7mm
  • Shoes length: 22mm
  • Sunglasses width: 30mm
  • Sunglasses height: 6mm
  • Box height: 300mm
  • Box width: 76mm
  • Box depth: 43mm
  • Tag width: 31mm
  • Tag depth: 11mm
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
  • 'Barbie TM / Pats. Pend. / MCMLVIII / by / Mattel / Inc.' (Moulded on doll's hip)
  • '390'
  • 'JAPAN' (Moulded underneath left shoe)
  • 'F.W. Woolworth Co. / $3.00' (Printed sticker adhered to box base)
  • 'Barbie / TEEN AGE FASHION MODEL' (Printed on box lid)
  • 'GENUINE Barbie / BY MATTEL' (Printed on tag)
Gallery label
AKA Barbara Millicent Roberts Barbie is a doll with lots of interests, friends and clothes. She’s even had over two hundred jobs. Ruth Handler designed her when she saw her young daughter Barbara give grown-up personalities to her dolls. For a long time, most Barbies looked similar, but now they have different skin tones, hair types and body shapes to represent more people in the world. [Young V&A, Imagine Gallery group object label](2023)
Credit line
Given by Donald Arkinstall
Object history
This item belonged to Dennis Arkinstall, who worked for Lines Brothers Ltd as a sculptor. It was given to the museum by his son after his death.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This object is one of a collection given to the museum. This collection is quite important as it belonged to Dennis Arkinstall. Dennis worked in the toy industry for a company called Lines Brothers Ltd, they were mostly famous for their Tri-ang range of toys. Dennis was a sculptor and worked in the research and development of new toys for the company in particular the dolls which were produced under the Pedigree trade name. The catalogues highlight that their range of dolls are realistic and produced by a sculptor. We do not know when Dennis started working at the factory but we know that he was an influential figure in the designing of their most popular doll Sindy, which was produced in 1963.

This collection includes dolls from other manufactures as he would have collected them to inspire new ideas. They are often just heads, which was not uncommon as these were usually exported in large numbers and the bodies made at their destination as it was a cheap way to manufacture. The collection also includes moulds and experimental pieces from the factory as well as complete ones in their presentation boxes.

This particular object is a Barbie made by Mattel in 1960. Barbie was first launched at a 1959 New York toy fair wearing this black and white striped bathing suit.
Collection
Accession number
B.72:1 to 8-2010

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Record createdDecember 30, 2010
Record URL
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