At Long Last, an 18th Century Doll for My 18th Century Home

1790 english wooden www.izannahwalker.comI have long dreamed of finding a late 18th century doll to live here with us in our 224 year old home.  Last year, more or less by accident, I happened across a c.1790 English Wooden doll for sale on Mary Ann Spinelli’s website.  I had an immediate crush on her!  She was just what I was looking for, a plain everyday English wooden that could have been found  in a New England farmhouse such as ours.  Mary Ann is gracious enough to offer lay-away, so I have been paying her off over the intervening months since I first saw her photo.*  Today I finally got to meet her in person!



I can't wait!

I can’t wait!



Blue glass eyes!

Blue glass eyes!

Her clothing was replaced in the mid-19th century.  She is currently wearing a dress that is made very much like those I make for my Izannahs.  The dress is made from a thin, gauzy cotton with a Prussian blue print.  It fastens with a glass button and brass hook.

Sophronia’s  clothing was replaced in the mid-19th century. She is currently wearing a dress that is made very much like those I make for my Izannahs. The dress is made from a thin, gauzy cotton with a Prussian blue print. It fastens with a glass button and brass hook.


Underneath it all!

Amazingly after more than two centuries, she still has all of her fingers!

Amazingly after more than two centuries,  Sophronia still has all of her fingers!

When my life calms down a bit, after I host a meeting of my doll club in May and return from selling at the UFDC convention in July, I’m really looking forward to pulling out my tiny stash of 18th century fabrics and sewing a new wardrobe for my English wooden doll.  I’ve decided to name her Sophronia after Sophronia Guild Ferris the first woman known to live in our house. (You can read more about the original Sophronia and the history of our house here.)

This doll belongs to my friend Rainy Crawford.  The doll was passed down through a New Milford, Connecticut family.  See how she compares with my doll.

This doll belongs to my friend Rainie Crawford. The doll was passed down through a New Milford, Connecticut family. See how she compares with my doll.

Another view of Rainy's doll.

Another view of Rainie’s doll.

Still lovely after all this time <3

Still lovely after all this time ❤


* As I have often mentioned, I’m always happy to offer lay-away to my customers because I know just how helpful it can be when you dearly want to buy something that stretches your budget.  Read more…


~ by paulawalton on April 16, 2014.

10 Responses to “At Long Last, an 18th Century Doll for My 18th Century Home”

  1. Oh Paula, I’m so thrilled for you! How exciting to have such a beautiful example of a very old doll! She is indeed perfect for your home! I’ve seen very few Queen Anne dolls, (mostly just drool over pictures) and I’ve never seen one with blue eyes. That must be very rare. Sophronia (love her name) is beautiful and her body looks to be in wonderful condition – she has aged very well. I look forward to seeing the beautiful wardrobe that you design for her. She is very lucky to be living in such a wonderful new home with a most excellent doll maker and seamstress! I’m sure she is just very happy to be in her new home, and will wait patiently until the two of you can sit down together to create her new fashions. What a fun summer you will have! I’m sure her beautiful Izannah sisters are thrilled to welcome her into the fold. It will be so fun each day for you to see Sophronia peering over your shoulder as she watches you bring your amazing Izannah Walker dolls to life as you prepare for your UFDC exhibition. Congratulations on your special new doll! Love, Susie

    • Susie,

      Thank you! It is such a good thing that Sophronia has an abundance of patience, much more than I have… All I want to do today is get out a piece of old linen and start making her a chemise… but that will have to wait for another day… sigh! Last night I dreamt of making her a tiny miniature pair of stays.

      Brian is not at all enamored with her. He says that unlike my Izannahs, he just can’t picture a child hugging and playing with her! I’m pretty sure her thinks she is scary looking. 🙂

      Her blue eyes are rather rare. They give her kind of a zoomy look 🙂

      You will definitely be seeing more of her. I don’t think she is camera shy at all!


  2. I hope Rainie gets to see your new doll! She will love it! Amazing carving!

    • Joy,

      We’ll just have to kidnap her and bring her here for lunch again this summer! It will be a lot less stressful, since she won’t be moving!
      If Rainie likes this doll even half as much as I do hers, she’ll be head over heels! I adored Rainie’s doll the minute I saw her… that’s probably why I just had to have one of my own. ❤


  3. Oh Paula!!! you are so lucky. Sophronia is wonderful, and I like her name, it sounds regal. I definately want to read about her namesake. You know I love the history of dolls. Were you able to get any history on her? She looks so perfect sitting next to your antique sampler. I’m glad your dream came true and you were able to get her. It’s heart warming when a person obtains just the right doll of their hearts desire. She is such a treasure, and she fits right in your home like it was meant for her. Will she get a “red” dress?
    Seeing her makes me want to dig out my Jane Austen movies. I’m sure she will grow on Brian at some point. I want to wish you the best of luck on your May meeting. I know how exhausting it can be just getting ready for company to come, and trying to make everything perfect. To let you know, doll club members are coming to see your dolls and enjoy the day with you. Try not to get run down, you have such a wonderful summer to look forward to. If there is something I can do as a doll club member in VT. please let me know. Do you need any little favors for your guests? Keep that thought in mind for a while. Happy Easter. Fondly, Mary Goddard.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you, I do feel very, very fortunate. I don’t have any background on the doll, I wish I did. I don’t have too many 18th century fabrics to choose from, but I think she will probably get a chintz print cotton dress with sprigs of flowers. Some of the flowers are a pinkish red! I have a bit of very early red paisley, but I think the print is way too large for her. Since I can’t start sewing right away, maybe I will find something else… you never know what fabric treasures may turn up!

      Thanks for wishing me well with the meeting. I have one less week to prepare than I thought I did, because we voted to move the meeting up to the 10th. Otherwise it was going to be during Brimfield week, which meant a lot of members couldn’t attend. If it wasn’t such a long drive and Mother’s Day weekend as well, I’d say bring all of your girls and come give me moral support! 🙂 You and I definitely think alike. I’ve been trying to come up with a little something to send everyone home with. At our meeting on Saturday we all got Easter baskets! Do you have any great ideas? You are always so good with holidays and special occasions. I already have my lunch menu figured out, so that’s something. I know you were thinking about doing a presentation on Izannah Walker dolls, have you done any more planning and research on it over the winter?

      Happy Easter to you and Chris & your whole family!


  4. Hi Paula, not knowing the dolls history leaves a story wide open to make one for her. Our May Luncheon is coming soon too on May 8th. I do have a few ideas about little favors. All women love chocolate. Pretty bags tied in ribbons streamers on a May Pole filled with chocolates. Mary G.

  5. Oh Paula! I understand you! Sophronia attracts to itself, it fascinates …

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