Bisque dolls also commonly referred to as porcelain dolls are old dolls which were made partially or on rare occasions wholly from biscuit porcelain or bisque. They are characterized by their very realistic Skin-like finish. Bisque dolls attained widespread popularity in the late 17th century.
While early bisque dolls were made as playthings, today they are mainly collectible materials and can be worth quite much depending on their features and characteristics. As an antique collector here are some things to look out for when buying a bisque doll.
The hairstyle of a bisque doll is a good indicator of where it was made. Dolls from the 1800s to 1900s had rooted or lifelike hair instead of painted hair. Some of these older models also had high foreheads with their parted in the middle and smoothed down into rows of curls which were then tucked behind the hair. Bisque dolls from China in the mid-17th century also featured extravagant hairstyles resembling the Parisian style of that era. Their 19th-century counterparts, on the other hand, had bushy hair with mostly bangs.
The physical attribute of your doll is another important thing to look out for as it can also be a determinant of where the doll came from. Bisque dolls from Germany had painted blue eyes with some rare varieties having brown stationary glass eyes.
Most bisque dolls bear clear identification markings which can be numbers, letters or name of the manufacturer on their shoulder, head, neck, bottom or foot. Finding this marking on your doll will make it easier to identify.
You should carry out a general assessment of your doll and determine whether it is actually made from porcelain especially the head. Bisque dolls had bodies made from different materials ranging from wood to leather. There are some modern bisque dolls with stuffed bodies.
Quality of the paint
The painting is the major distinguishing feature of Bisque dolls as their skins were painted mainly to give them a life-like appearance. Thus it is important for you to access the quality of the painting of your bisque doll. Well painted dolls generally have finely detailed paintings of their eyebrows and eyelashes. They also have well-accented lips with an appropriate dash of cheek blush.
The styling of your doll is also a determinant of its value as it reflects the era the doll comes from. Bisque dolls from the Victorian era, for example, have elaborately styled wigs made from real hair that are pinned to cork plates. Some of them even have their ears pierced and feet painted carefully to resemble patterned stockings or boots marking the trend of the era.
Bisque dolls come in all shapes and sizes; in fact, there are even some life-sized models available. Most of them often have a characteristic “dolly face” with oversized eyes and small open mouth. They had delicate yet lavishly decorated features. They are usually slightly translucent, but not chalky.
Type of Doll
You should also access your doll and determine the type of bisque doll that you have. Babe dolls are characteristically from the 19th century as they attained widespread popularity during this period. But most early varieties were adult fashion dolls that were made to emulate adult women. There were also character models which imitated certain costumes and personalities.
Country of origin
If you are lucky you might be able to accurately identify your bisque doll with a marking of the country of origin on it. bisque dolls made in Germany after 1891 will most likely have a marking with the name of the country on it because of the Mckinley Tariff act of 1890 which mandated it.
Access the general condition of your doll as well. Bisque dolls kept in mint condit0ion are the most valuable. Look out for cracks, rips, and holes which can contribute to the dolls deterioration. Some of these signs can also be used to verify the authenticity of your doll.