Restorations!

Although I don’t often mention it here on my blog, I do a fair amount of restoration work when I can fit it into my schedule.  During August and September I spent countless hours doing restoration on three antique Izannah Walker dolls, plus a very unique one of a kind antique painted cloth doll.  ❤ ❤ ❤

Helping to preserve and restore antique cloth dolls and their clothing is one of my passions!  Equal parts scary and awe inspiring, restoration work is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that I do ❤  As with any type of restoration, less is more. I do the least possible to protect and preserve a doll, while at the same time getting her original beauty to show through her veil of years.

Here are some before and after photographs for all of you, who are equally as smitten with antique painted cloth dolls as I am, to enjoy.  I do make all cloth, historically accurate reproductions of all three of these Izannahs; with pressed cloth heads that I make in molds taken directly from the original antique dolls.  I’d be delighted to make one especially for you ❤

All of my dolls are finely handmade, one at a time, in New England – just over 100 miles from where Izannah Walker lived and worked in Somerset Village, MA and Central Falls, RI. Each doll is historically accurate and requires from 85 – 100 hours to complete.

I’m always happy to talk to you about restoring your antique painted cloth dolls.  paula@asweetremembrance.com  860-355-5709 (9:00 – 6:00 Eastern Time).

A LARGE VERY EARLY IZANNAH WALKER DOLL

Before restoration.

Before restoration.

 

I was asked to bring back some of the original color to the face and shoulders of this early doll. Years of sun fading and a prior overly vigorous cleaning had turned the doll's once skin toned paint almost white.

I was asked to bring back some of the original color to the face and shoulders of this early doll. Years of sun fading and a prior overly vigorous cleaning had turned the doll’s once skin toned paint almost white.

 

The doll's linen second skin also needed repairs and a newly made replacement arm was itself in need of replacement.

The doll’s linen second skin also needed repairs and a newly made replacement arm was itself in need of replacement.

 

Back view prior to restoration work.

Back view prior to restoration work.

 

Fortunately the doll's original paint color was visible on a protected area of her back.

Fortunately the doll’s original paint color was visible on a protected area of her back.

 

After restoration.  The change in color is very subtle.  These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner.  After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to "age" the fabric and arm more.  The upper arm above the replacement is too fragile to clean, which left the dilemma of what color to paint the replaced lower arm... Should it match the other cleaned arm? Or should it match the uncleanable upper arm fragment it is attached too???

After restoration. The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to “age” the fabric and arm more. The upper arm above the replacement is too fragile to clean, which left the dilemma of what color to paint the replaced lower arm… Should it match the other cleaned arm? Or should it match the uncleanable upper arm fragment it is attached too???

 

Another look at the color restoration of the face and shoulders. The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to "age" the fabric and arm more.

Another look at the color restoration of the face and shoulders.
The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to “age” the fabric and arm more.

 

A third after restoration photo.  The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to "age" the fabric and arm more.

A third after restoration photo. The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to “age” the fabric and arm more.

 

After restoration.  The doll's dress is made from very thin fragile wool fabric that has never been washed. It's orogonal long sleeves were cut off at some point. I did some very minor sewing repairs on the dress and washed all of her under garments with museum conservation cleaning products.  The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to "age" the fabric and arm more.

After restoration. The doll’s dress is made from very thin fragile wool fabric that has never been washed. It’s original long sleeves were cut off at some point. I did some very minor sewing repairs on the dress and washed all of her under garments with museum conservation cleaning products.  These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to “age” the fabric and arm more.

 

A 2nd after restoration photo.  The change in color is very subtle. These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to "age" the fabric and arm more.

A 2nd after restoration photo.  These photos were taken before the doll was seen by her owner. After the owner had a chance to see the replaced arm and replaced antique linen upper arm covering, we decided to “age” the fabric and arm more.

 

HEAVILY REPAINTED 18 INCH IZANNAH WALKER DOLL

A sweet 18 inch Izannah with multiply layers of repaint.

A sweet 18 inch Izannah with multiple layers of repaint.

 

My mission was to remove multiple layers of paint to get back down to the original paint on this doll and to remark her very battered replacement arms.

My mission was to remove multiple layers of paint to get back down to the original paint on this doll and to remake her very battered replacement arms.

 

Prior to restoration.

Prior to restoration.

 

These were not the original arms on this doll.

These were not the original arms on this doll.

 

Before any over painting was removed.

Before any over painting was removed.

 

After restoration.  The old replacement arms are being preserved as part of the doll's history.

After restoration. The old replacement arms are being preserved as part of the doll’s history.

 

After restoration.

After restoration.

 

These photos were taken before the restored doll was shown to her owner.  After she got a chance to see the doll, we decided to add additional aging to the new arms.  I always like to consult with owners through out the restoration process to make sure that the cosmetic part of the restoration looks the way they want it to.

These photos were taken before the restored doll was shown to her owner. After she got a chance to see the doll, we decided to add additional aging to the new arms. I always like to consult with owners through out the restoration process to make sure that the cosmetic part of the restoration looks the way they want it to.

 

This is what she looks like after I removed four layers of repaint and did a very small amount of judicious in painting.  As you can see much of her original paint had been worn away, so it is very easy to understand why she received  new coats of paint.

This is what she looks like after I removed four layers of repaint and did a very small amount of judicious in-painting. As you can see, much of her original paint had been worn away, so it is very easy to understand why she received a new coat of paint.

 

After most of the restoration was finished, but before additional aging was added to her newly remade arms.  All of her clothing is freshly washed and aired. <3

After most of the restoration was finished, but before additional aging was added to her newly remade arms. All of her clothing is freshly washed and aired. ❤

 

ISANE

This doll belongs to me.  You may remember seeing previous photos of her here on my blog.

This is a photo of Isane last year shortly after I purchased her.  She had been repainted shortly before she came to live with me.

This is a photo of Isane last year, shortly after I purchased her. She had been repainted not long before coming to live with me.

 

Isane, after I removed all of her recent repaint.

Isane, after I removed all of her recent repaint.

 

Isane during restoration.

Isane during restoration.

 

Isane after restoration.  Because she had suffered significant paint loss and had filler added before the last time she was repainted, I did have to do some in-painting.

Isane after restoration. Because she had suffered significant paint loss and had filler added before the last time she was repainted, I did have to do some in-painting.

 

Isane after restoration.

Isane after restoration.

 

Isane post restoration.

Isane post restoration.

 

Isane as she looks now after restoration.

Isane as she looks now after restoration.

 

Much better!!!  (following restoration)

Much better!!! (following restoration)

 

Isane and I are both happy with the way she looks now <3 (after 60= hours of restoration).

Isane and I are both happy with the way she looks now after I did 60+ hours of restoration work ❤

 

A WONDERFUL ANTIQUE PAINTED CLOTH DOLL

Before I did any restoration work.

Before I did any restoration work.

 

The neck of the doll suffered a lot of wear and tear over the years.  Portions of the painted cloth are missing.

The neck of the doll suffered a lot of wear and tear over the years. Portions of the painted cloth are missing.

 

The back before restoration work.

The back before restoration work.

 

The main thing I had to do to this doll was to keep her very fragile neck from coming completely apart and make sure her head stays attached.

The main thing I needed to do to this doll was to keep her very fragile neck from coming completely apart and make sure her head stays attached to her body.

 

This is how the doll looks after I did a bit of repair to her neck and ankles.

This is how the doll looks after I did a bit of repair to her neck and ankles.

 

Her ankles are still fragile, but all of their stuffing is in place and they are more firmly attached.

Her ankles are still fragile, but all of their stuffing is in place and they are more firmly attached.

 

This is the doll after minor repair to her neck.

This is the doll after minor repair to her neck.

 

Thankfully, after a little restoration work, the back of the neck looks much better.

Thankfully, after a little restoration work, the back of the neck looks much better.

 

The addition of a black velvet ribbon provides support and helps  keep added stress off of the delicate neck.

The addition of a black velvet ribbon provides support and helps keep added stress off of the delicate neck.

 

After restoration  she is ready for her next 150 years!

After restoration she is ready for her next 150 years!

 

Aging gracefully <3

Aging gracefully ❤

 

After restoration.

After restoration.

 

It was a wonderful treat to have this doll come visit for a few weeks while I worked on her :)

It was a wonderful treat to have this doll come visit for a few weeks while I worked on her 🙂

 

 

 

~ by paulawalton on October 26, 2014.

5 Responses to “Restorations!”

  1. OH Paula, the dolls look so happy now. It takes someone like you that has worked in a museum to know whether to restore an antique item or not. The subtle touch ups did so much for these wonderful dolls we all love. Taking away the new paint from the doll in blue worked wonders. This doll reminds me of my Anna, with the round face. I’m sure your doll is happy as can be too. Last of all, I love the old cloth doll, she is wonderful. What kind of a nose does she have? Funny, but it looks like a wooden nose to me. Will the black velvet ribbon be enough to hold her neck up? Does the doll wear shoes? Where did this doll originate? She is so wonderful, and when I saw her in the white dress I had to smile. Fondly, Mary G.

  2. Hi again Paula, the old one of a kind doll : are her hands/fingers leather or cloth? Her body is such a great design. Did you make a pattern of her? I realize she isn’t your doll but she is so wonderful. I bet if she was put in a competition to UFDC for one of a kind dolls of cloth she’d win the blue, or has she already won any? thanks, Mary G.

  3. Hi Mary,

    Thank you! I do try to do my very best for the dolls 🙂 I did think of Anna when I was working on the Izannah with the blue dress! She is a slightly bigger doll but does have a lot in common with your Anna. ❤

    The one of a kind doll was actually put up for auction a few months ago and identified as an Izannah, which she clearly isn't, but she certainly is special. Her hands are white kid leather like so many papier-mache and china dolls hands were from the same period. She actually originally had leather covered feet that mimicked boots, also common on china and papier-mache dolls. Her nose is hard and could well have been a small piece of wood tucked in place under her cloth face. The face was so fragile that I tried not to touch it more than necessary. I actually stitched the head back onto the neck, so the ribbon is just for added support to keep pressure off of the stitching so that it doesn't eventually tear back through the painted cloth. I didn't make a pattern of this doll, but I was tempted to because she has such interesting construction 🙂 As far as I know she doesn't have any ribbons, but since she isn't mine I can't say for sure.

    ❤ Paula

  4. I am just speechless, they are all so dear and so well done, nothing taken away from their history and now they can be enjoyed for years ahead. Wow.

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