Footwear

There are very few Nisbet dolls that do not have some sort of footwear - In fact, the only doll we can think of who has bare feet is the Belly Dancer - but that is a requisite of her profession!   All the rest are shod in various designs and fashions, using a variety of techniques -

Painted Shoes

For certain types of dolls, (many of the National, Historical, and Happy Dolls), their footwear was painted on - In fact, we believe some were dip-painted; The doll's feet were lowered into a dish of paint at an angle, to simulate the sides, back, and sole of the shoe, and dipped a second time, to paint the toecap.   This technique was possible because the feet were modelled as a smooth shape, without toes; it was quick and easy to achieve a good effect, (in the hands of a skilled person), and it was economical.   The feet of both male and female dolls were often finished in this way.   In the examples above, you can see typical examples of slippers painted onto the feet of female dolls, and boots painted onto the feet of a military character

Slippers

We have used the term "Slippers", to describe any footwear made of fabric.   These are most usually found on dolls from the Portrait and Limited Edition series, and may often be made from material that matches the doll's costume.   The fabric slippers shown above are to be seen on three different variations of P/400 Queen Elizabeth II - Coronation Robes - Note also that Her Majesty is also wearing real nylons!

Some other dolls, (including very early Portrait models of King Henry VIII's wives also occasionally had cloth slippers - but no nylon stockings, as these weren't available until 1940!

Leather Shoes

Some dolls, (particularly from the "Portrait" and "Limited Edition" series had more elaborate footwear.   Many of the male dolls, (particularly the Royal and Aristocratic characters), wear real leather shoes, often adorned with buckles and bows, and occasionally with buttons, too.   As you will see from the pictures above, the leather shape was stuck to the foot, and stretched and folded forward, to produce a seam running down along the centre front of the foot.   This was later trimmed, to produce the very effective "shoes" seen above.   Unfortunately, over time, the adhesive has dried or failed, and many of the shoes will have begun to gape down the top, and at the toes!

Boots

Many of the male dolls, from all series, have rugged leather boots, which reflect either their occupation, or their status.   These items of footwear were made in a different manner to the leather shoes, being stitched and pulled on to the doll like a pair of socks.   They were longer than shoes, extending up the doll's legs to the knees.   Some varieties of boot were held in place with leather thongs or straps - These are found particularly on early British Kings and Chieftains, and on some Scottish kings and warriors.   Of particular interest are the studded boots worn by H/568, A Pilgrim in the Reign of King John.   In those early times, pilgrims would walk across Europe in Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela, (Saint James the Great, in Compostela), in Galicia, North West Spain.   It is typical of Peggy Nisbet's attention to detail that she would give her Pilgrim doll authentic and hard-wearing footwear for his long and arduous journey, which was invariably completed on foot.

Clogs

These clogs belong to an early and very attractive N/109 Holland Dutch Girl.   Although her clogs look as if they have been carved from wood, they are made from moulded rubber.   Once upon a time, (perhaps in the late 1950's or early '60s, when this doll was first made), these clogs would have been soft and flexible, allowing them to be slipped on and off her feet.   Unfortunately, 50 years on, they have dried out and hardened, and any attempt to remove them would most likely cause them to crumble beyond repair.

Skates

These stylish skates grace the slim feet of T/104 Sonia the Skater.   Whilst the pictures on the left and in the centre show how an elegant paint job can emulate a skater's boot, the picture on the right shows how the metal blade has been fixed to the doll's foot.   The blade has been heated sufficiently to allow the two tangs or pins that form part of the actual blade to be pushed into the plastic of the foot.   As the tangs have been pushed in, the plastic has melted; as it cools and hardens, the blade is securely held.

Fitting the blades must have been quite a skilful job - If not inserted parallel to the sole of the foot, Sonia would not be able to stand; If inserted too deep, there was a danger that they might distort the top of the foot, or even come out through it, redering the doll a write-off.

News

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, (www.fdqmedia.com), 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.

 

 

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