National Costume Dolls

Peggy Nisbet’s inspiration to first make dolls came from her visits to Quimper, in the Brittany region of France, which she visited immediately after the war.   Here, beautiful hand-made dolls dressed in local national costume could be seen in the shops.  At that time, there was nothing in Britain to compare with these dolls.   National Costume was to be a constant source of Inspiration for Peggy, and between the late ‘50s and 1982, she produced almost 100 different dolls in the “National” series.  

These dolls provide a window back in time; when they were made, the world was a very different place.   As the changing political climate of the post war years has re-drawn national boundaries, some old nations and states have been absorbed or divided up, whilst others have been created, sometimes resurrecting old countries, states, and Kingdoms, in the process.   Different flags flew from many flagpoles then, and some nations were referred to by names we would not recognise today.  

The idea of National Costumes may seem old fashioned, even quaint and curious to us today, and even by the time Peggy Nisbet began making these dolls in the late 50’s, National Costumes were already becoming a thing of the past in many European countries, and were only worn on high days and holidays.   Today, the ubiquitous tee shirt and blue jeans are the International costume of the young, and the fascinating and curious styles worn by many of these dolls are rapidly vanishing, or may even have gone forever.

The listing below is in series number order - not all dolls in the series may be represented, but any gaps will be filled when we can find a decent photograph!   If you can help fill the gaps, please email us!

8th June 2013

Once again, we send our grateful thanks to Alice J, for providing 116 exciting new pictures for the National Dolls gallery.   These pictures include some of the earliest Tower Walk dolls, some real rarities, and colour variations  of many old favourites!

Thank you, Alice!

Please note that many of the dolls in these pictures have facsimile Nisbet tags (in a maroon red colour) to identify them in our collection - (Where still present, the original black tags have been tucked into the dolls' clothing)

For technical reasons, we have had to split the nearly 340 images of National Costume dolls into two galleries, to ensure that their names will appear at the bottom of the frame.

Gallery 1 : N/101 France - Brittany to N/126 Denmark

Gallery 2 : N/127 Iceland to N/197 Canadian Mountie

The doll pictures will auto run as slide shows in the windows above.

Press F5 (function key 5 on your keyboard), to re-start the slide shows.

Alternatively, you may control the slideshows manually – follow the steps below :

  • Place the cursor at the bottom of the window to access thumbnail and navigation control bar
  • Click on the “?” (question mark) symbol (bottom left hand side of the control bar) for a detailed explanation of the controls
  • See a full screen slideshow by clicking on the “Square with Arrow” symbol (2nd from right on the control bar)
  • Use the keyboard arrow keys to move forward and back through the slideshow, as desired
  • Use the “ESC” key to leave full screen mode


21st September 2023


Important Announcement


My dear wife, Christine, passed away on the 8th December, 2021after 8 weeks in hospital. I was by her side, when she slipped away from me peacefully, with no pain or suffering.


Chris had been struggling with a slow decline in health, associated with a progressive, untreatable, and ultimately terminal lung disease, and finally succumbed to her old adversary, Pneumonia.


We had been friends for 55 years, together as a couple for 50 years, and married just a month short of 48 years, when she died.   


This website was Chris's idea, and I did all the technical stuff, to make it work.   After news of Chris's passing reached her close friends in the doll collecting world, I was deeply touched and gratified to hear their tributes to my dear wife, and I must thank them all for their kindness and support.   Ultimately, it was her doll friends that gave me the courage to continue with the website.


In the months before her eventual hospitalisation, Chris had outlined a number of additions and changes she wanted to make to the website, and it is my intention to honour those wishes, and to implement the changes we had considered, over the coming weeks and months.


I must apologise to all those who have written to us via the website, only to have your emails go unanswered.   Unfortunately, the email system had been hacked aroung the time Chris was going into hospital, and many emails must have been lost, as a result.


As you might imagine, I felt completely broken by Chris's loss, and it is only now, almost 22 months after her passing, that I have felt strong enough to even look at the website again.   


My aim is to continue with the website, and to implement Chris's aims for her many new ideas as soon as I can.   In the meantime, I have hopefully got the email system sorted out, and I will attempt to answer any enquiries as soon as I can, and to send replies with the same high degree of accuracy that a reply from Chris would have had.


From now on, I will be flying solo, whilst my co-pilot and guide will be soaring much higher, (though she is always in my heart, and in my thoughts).


My thanks to all our website visitors for your continued support


Dave (also known as Arthur), and Chris, (my lost love, Guinevere)


Christine Poulten

25th December 1949 - 8th December 2021