Crowns

The Crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch.   Strictly speaking, a Crown is only ever worn by an Emperor or Empress, King or Queen.  Their styles, construction, and decoration can be many and varied, a situation echoed in the regal headgear worn by Nisbet dolls made to represent various monarchs through the ages.   

Some examples are shown here :

The Wire Crown

The two pictures above are particularly interesting to the collector, because they show both the resin Tower Walk doll, (on the left), and the Styrene Historical series doll (on the right) of H/214, Queen Elizabeth I, (daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn).   what is even more relevant, is that they both have the same crown, seen rather more clearly in the right hand picture. (the younger of the two dolls).  

Constructed of square section wire, (which in itself is unusual, because most wire has a round section), the crowns have an intricate formation of loops and shapes intended to represent the Fleur-de-lys, cruciform decoration, and crennelations often seen on such regal items.   They are also decorated with faux gems and pearls, and the wire would originally have had a gold colour.

We know the Tower Walk doll dates from 1956/1958; The wire crown provides a time-line continuity that allows us to estimate the approximate date for the Historical doll to between 1958 and 1960

The Rubber Crown

The two images above show H/214 Queen Elizabeth I, wearing a small rubber crown.   This same crown, is sometimes seen on very early versions of P/610, Queen Victoria as a Widow.

The beautiful picture above is of Barbara T's stunning early Queen Elizabeth I, which as you can see, is in immaculate condition.   She is included here, because she also has the small rubber crown.   See a picture of the doll, showing the rest of her pristine costume, in the "Historical" dolls gallery, here :

The Rubber Coronet

The image to the left shows BR/319, Peeress of the Realm.   She is not in fact wearing a crown, but a coronet, which is defined as a small crown that differs from a true crown in that it never has arches.   The Peeress's coronet shown here is surmounted with six "pearls", showing that her rank is that of a Baroness).

Rubber crowns and coronets were only found on a relatively few dolls, and were probably only used between 1957 or 1958, and 1962.   

Because rubber is an organic material which oxidises and breaks down over time, and the crowns and coronets are of relatively thin section, they are not always good survivors, if poorly stored, or subjected to mechanical damage.

The Lace Crown

The pictures above show how lace was used to create a crown, and this was sometimes supported with a clear plastic acetate stiffener, visible by its reflection in the crowns worn by three of the dolls in the pictures above (Top left is the unsupported (and slightly floppy) lace crown).   Peggy Nisbet used a huge variety of lace trimmings, (some very expensive), on her dolls, and they were often used to simulate a crown, so you might well come across a version not shown here

The Plastic Crown

The four crowns shown above are made of painted plastic, and are all identical.   They were cut to length, stitched into a circular shape, and sewn onto the hair with loops of thread.   The crowns on the lower two dolls have been decorated with white overstitching.

The crown on the bottom right has four arches and a central cross feature.   Look closely at the other three crowns, and you will be able to see where the arches have been cut away from the top of the four crosses (on the front,back and sides of the crown)

The two images above show a plated plastic crown, which does initially look as if it were made of pressed metal.   In fact, the plastic has been electroplated so that its smooth surface appears to be metallic, because of its lustrous shine.   The plastic strip was clipped to length, then tacked to the doll's hair or headdress, to form a crown.

The Metal Crown

Here we see a pressed metal crown used in three different ways - The dolls in the top two  pictures have small Rhinestones glued into the circular dimples of their crowns, (not easy to see in these small photographs); the doll in the bottom left hand picture has the same metal crown incorporated as part of a headdress, and King Charles I, (bottom right) has the bare metal alone used to form his crown

This picture shows King Ralph, (see "The Dolls that Never Were") wearing a cast metal, plated and painted crown,  lined with a velvet cap, usually Imperial Purple or blue, but in this case, scarlet, for this particular model.   This crown, (with a purple lining),  is a direct replacement for the plastic crown worn by King George VI (see above).

The collector should know that because this crown was introduced in February 1979, any doll wearing it must date from that year, or later.

This is the beautiful P/417 Princess Margaret at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a simple cast and plated metal crown.    It lacks the four arches that supported the orb and central cross seen in the previous version, and is worn without the velvet inner cap

There are likely to be a number of variants of the crown that we have not covered in this section, but if you discover any serious errors or omissions, we would appreciate your input!

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.

 

 

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!