Know Your Nisbet

What makes a Nisbet a Nisbet?

Tower Walk H/218 King Henry VIII

Sometimes, it is not easy to decide if a doll really is a Peggy Nisbet.   Perhaps you only have a photograph on an internet auction website to look at; Perhaps you purchased a doll sold in good faith as a Peggy Nisbet, and now you see it alongside your Nisbet collection, you have niggling doubts.   How can you be sure?

Over the years, we have purchased a number of very nice dolls that looked a bit like, (but turned out not to be), genuine Nisbet dolls.

This section is designed to help collectors identify the key features that mark a Nisbet doll as distinct from many other, (and, it has to be admitted,) equally excellent doll families.

What good is the name of a new Nisbet doll, if you have never seen a picture of it before?   How can you tell if it is a genuine Nisbet?  Here, we will try and provide pointers that will allow the collector to establish, with a high degree of certainty, that a previously unseen or unknown doll is, in fact, a Nisbet creation, and along the way, provide lots of snippets of information that we hope will prove to be interesting and useful to the collector.

Is it possible to define the Nisbet magic, that secret essence that sets these dolls apart from all others?   We think that this questions can only really be answered by experience - time spent looking at genuine Nisbet dolls, or reading all the catalogues, to get a feel for the type of character that Peggy Nisbet loved to make; Time spent in examination of the techniques and materials that went into their creation; Time spent looking at the materials and fabrics used, the trimmings, lace, hats, footwear, and accessories, etc.

We realise that many collectors, (and would-be collectors), haven't the opportunity or resources available to them to devote to this study, and in any case, the sort of information they really need just isn't available to them - For instance, there is only one book that deals exclusively with Peggy Nisbet's life and work as a dollmaker*, and although still of huge interest to the collector, it answers relatively few of these questions.   *(look at Home Page / Frequently Asked Questions for details of the book, "The Peggy Nisbet Story")   Even this worthy volume doesn't offer a complete and named photographic listing of the dolls that Nisbet made.  

That omission was, (in part), one of the reasons we felt this section might be of interest to Nisbet collectors.  

On the right of this pane are a few of the key points and identifiers that will help you to establish the authenticity (or not) of the suspect dolls in your collection

We hope that you will find these pages of interest and value, but they are still a work in progress, and as such will continue to be added to and revised, as time allows.


31st October 2015

New updates added - We have added a new page on the Isle of Wight dolls, which were produced for the Liliput doll Museum, on the Isle of Wight.   These dolls have mystified us for some time, but an opportunity to do some research through the archives, an email from Graham Munday, (owner of the Lilliput Doll Museum), and an email chat with author and Shallowpool Dolls expert sue Brewer, have allowed a partial reconstruction of their fascinating story.   There are still some gaps in our knowledge, so if you can fill in any of the missing details for us, please do get in touch!

19th September 2015

New updates added - Our thanks to correspondent David H, who has sent us two interesting pictures - The first is of a very rare Nisbet First Doll.   This is the doll that started Peggy Nisbet's dollmaking career, and you can read all about her on this page : dolls/special-collectors-sets-limited-and-signature-editions/SCE-P1953 Replica Edition of the First Nisbet Doll.  David's picture of his original first Nisbet is shown below the article on the replica doll, and below that, is shown a unique 18" porcelain doll that also shows the Queen in Coronation robes, and was used in displays and exhibitions.   This doll is also shown in the book, "The Peggy Nisbet Story".  Other updates added today are the BOAC and BEA dolls, Madam Tussaud Dolls, Wax Dolls, and a Porcelain statuette issued as a tribute to Peter Bull, which is shown under Dolls/Porcelain Dolls/Irish Dresden - Tribute to the Late Peter Bull

12th September 2015

New updates added - Apologies to all our visitors for the long delay in adding some updates and new information - we hope that the items listed below will be of interest!   Many kind thanks to numerous correspondents, for their kind offers of pictues and other information, to fill in the gaps in various galleries :  To Barbara T, for her stunning pictures of H/214 - Queen Elizabeth I, wearing a rubber crown.   Pictures appear in Historical Gallery 1, and in "Know your Nisbets/Headgear/Crowns".   Frank T sent two excellent pictures of Vera Evelyn Samuel, and you can see the pictures and read all about her here - "Porcelain Dolls/Doulton Nisbet".   Penny D has sent in some pictures of her magnificent early P/618 - Robbie Burns - See him in Portrait Dolls Gallery 1.   We have used another of Keith P's pictures in a new gallery just added - "Know your Nisbet/Body shape and pose".   Finally, we have added a new page on Walt Disney dolls, which may come as something of a surprise to many collectors, as the dolls are not typically Nisbet in appearance!


3rd January 2015


Exciting New updates added for 2015 - Correspondent Michael A contacted us last year to ask about his mother's "Beatles" Nisbet dolls - Collectors of long standing may have heard of this almost legendary set of dolls - Thanks to Michael, you can now learn all about them here : /dolls/the-dolls-that-never-were/the-beatles/   

A recent contact from author Ian Price, who writes for the "Fashion Dolls Quarterly" magazine, (, enquired about Nisbet's Christmas themed dolls - We were delighted to assist his researches in compiling this article on Peggy Nisbet's "Legends of Christmas" dolls.   Ian has very kindly allowed us to make a copy of this article available for download - Please go to the Downloads/Miscellaneous/ page, and click on the link to "Styling Santa", by Ian Price, to see the article.



Thank you for stopping by to browse, or for making contact with us - We hope the website will prove to be of use and interest to you!