Nisbet "Homers"

"Homers" is a term we first heard from one of the past owners of the Peggy Nisbet brand.   He explained it as a generic name for Nisbet doll bodies that had been dressed in a mixture of odd parts taken from genuine Nisbet costumes, to produce a doll that was a figment of the creator's imagination.

The name "Homer" was derived from the source of most of these dolls - the vast army of Peggy Nisbet's Outworkers, (otherwise known as "Homeworkers").   Sometimes, there would be an extra doll body, or parts of costume, trimmings, or scraps of material left over from the completion of a batch of dolls.   Homeworkers would place these aside, and very occasionally, a doll might be put together for a child or grandchild - or just to amuse the worker - and so another Homer was born!

"Homers" can be very difficult to spot, because the doll and clothing is generally authentic.   Unfortunately, we can't offer hard and fast rules for spotting these Faux Nisbets - you will have to learn them for yourselves.   A good place to start is with your own dolls - they will most likely be genuine, especially if tagged, but a Homer lacks that indefinable something - that touch of Nisbet magic that makes them shine out as the real thing!   The giveaway to their origin is, (like the Devil), in the detail!

How can you tell if your suspect doll is a Homer?   It's not easy - We have been caught out a few times!   Here are a few pictures of a "Homer" Can-Can dancer, to show you what sort of detail to look out for

N/120 Can-Can Dancer

Watch the slideshow above, and see if you can tell which doll is the "Homer" - and why!   (Here's a clue - the two dolls wearing pink are the genuine Nisbets!)

  • The skirts of the pink dolls are long, full, and underlined with lots of lace petticoats.   By comparison, the dress of the blue doll is far too short for a Can-Can girl, and the lace petticoats are mean, by comparison.
  • The bodice of both pink dolls is tailored to give a smooth and close fitting effect.   The blue doll's bodice is poorly fitting, and wrinkled.
  • The shoulder straps on the pink dolls are properly spaced, well fitted, and sit nicely.   The blue doll's shoulder straps are unequal in length, and poorly fitted
  • The pink dolls are dressed in a silky material - the blue doll is dressed in velvet - not the first choice for a dancer performing the energetic Can-Can!
  • Peggy Nisbet's dolls were renowned for their well researched and authentic costumes.   Peggy's Can-Can dancers all wore stockings - the blue dancer doesn't
  • Finally, look at the headgear these dolls are wearing.   The pink dancers have tiny feathered berets, tied under their chins.   The blue doll is wearing a very large fur hat, which is totally unsuitable wear for such a vigorous dance as the Can-Can.

When we obtained the blue dancer, we thought she was genuine - but as our knowledge grew, we realised she was much less than a Nisbet Can-Can dancer should be!   Experience is a wonderful thing, and perhaps our mistakes explained will prevent you from following in our footsteps!


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!