Making the Doll Bodies

Rosebud doll dressed as Queen Elizabeth I - Possibly an early Nisbet example

In the early days, the doll's bodies were bought in for dressing from a manufacturer named "Rosebud".   These were small dolls with childish faces, and were popular and suitable for dressing in simple costume.

But Peggy wanted to produce her own 7" tall body for all her models.   (The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation doll had a specially made china bisque figure)   In the 1950s, suitable materials and their moulding processes were still in their infancy.   She experimented with cold setting resins, rubber solutions and plastics.   Early trials proved unsuccessful, so Peggy had to continue to buy in the "Rosebud" dolls.

Then, in 1954 Peggy was in contact with Deans Rag Book Co., who wanted to help Peggy with the development and production of the dolls' bodies.   They experimented with different products and found that latex worked very well.   She was also in contact with a local artist, John Lewin, who worked on moulding dolls.   These had excellent features, were easy to handle, and the faces were easy to paint.   The arms, which were moulded separately, had metal hooks which were used to tie them together through the body with elastic bands.   Unfortunately the resin contained a high level of acid, which caused the elastic bands to perish, and attacked the dress material.   Again, Peggy returned to using the "Rosebud" dolls.

Eventually the company turned to using a high impact injection moulded polystyrene. The whole manufacturing process required investment in standardised jigs, formers, cutters, punches and presses.   But, most importantly, this new process was successful, and all future doll bodies were to be made in this way, with faces then sprayed before being hand painted.

Further experimenting led to the production of a superior range of "Portrait Models", comprising famous persons with their specific recognisable facial features and, particularly for the men, rather taller, some with a bulkier body shape ‑ Henry VIII and Sir Winston Churchill shared the same torso!


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