We don’t have an image of this object online yet. V&A Images may have a photograph that we can’t show online, but it may be possible to supply one to you. Email us at vaimages@vam.ac.uk for guidance about fees and timescales, quoting the accession number: B.226-1996
Find out about our images

Not currently on display at the V&A

Dismal Desmond

Soft Toy Dog
1927-1935 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Dismal Desmond was designed by Richard Ellott and was one of the most successful toys of the 1920's. He was the mascot of the England Cricket Team that year, as well as a mascot in the ladies changing rooms at Wimbledon. Desmond remained in production until the World War II, and was reintroduced in the 1980's and 90's.


object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
printed cream velveteen with kapok stuffing; yellow silk ribbon around neck
Brief Description
Soft toy, Dismal Desmond made in England by Dean's Rag Book Co in about 1930
Physical Description
The soft toy represents a Dalmatian dog with the velveteen printed with black spots. Black lines have been used to show the facial features and paws. Sewn to the right side of the mouth is a tongue of pink felt, now faded to beige. Around the neck is a silk ribbon, slightly frayed at the ends.



The toy is made of a number of parts machine and hand sewn together to create the shape of the head, body and limbs. The front of the head is in one piece with the nose panel sewn down the front and around to the throat; the tongue is sewn into the mouth. This gives a long face with square spout. Ears are separately sewn on. The back of the head, though part of the part, is stitched from between the ears to the base of the neck to shape it. The body is in four parts. Two parts, sewn up the centre of the back, are the back to the base of the tail and the outside of the front legs. The other two parts are the inside of the front legs and the chest and stomach, all sewn together and sewn to the body back. The back legs, each of two parts sewn together, are sewn to the body and likewise the tail. The body and the head are sewn together at the neck where the marks are printed. This line is covered by the ribbon.
Dimensions
  • Height: 12.7cm
  • Width: 7.6cm
  • Depth: 10.8cm
Marks and Inscriptions
printed around the neck: DISMAL DESMOND TRADE MARK with the printed mark in a rectangle of two dogs with a rag and MADE IN ENGLAND 8.50 BY DEAN'S RAG BOOK CO LTD. also U S A PATENT 15.2.27
Object history
References: Games & Toys, various issues, 1926+; Collectors' Encyclopedia of Dolls, Vol 1 & 2; British Doll Makers



Dismal Desmond was a character designed by the company in both sitting and standing stances; various sizes were also made from about 17½in high down. The soft toy was introduced at the BIF, Feb. 1926 and made until 1935, according to company records. As this one bears the US patent date 1927, it will have been made after that date.
Production
Made by: The Dean's Rag Book Co.Ltd.
Summary
Dismal Desmond was designed by Richard Ellott and was one of the most successful toys of the 1920's. He was the mascot of the England Cricket Team that year, as well as a mascot in the ladies changing rooms at Wimbledon. Desmond remained in production until the World War II, and was reintroduced in the 1980's and 90's.
Collection
Accession Number
B.226-1996

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdApril 18, 2000
Record URL