Restoration and Conservation

A Tale of Two Restorations Part 2 Emmaline

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Here is a photograph of sweet Emmaline when she arrived on my door step. I instantly fell in love with her beautiful eyes!

and now my tale continues… Today it is time for Emmaline’s story.  It’s a rollicking adventure of coincidence, fate, and love!

In June, 2014 one of my doll club members told me that a friend of hers who lived in Wilton, CT was putting all of her dolls up for sale at the Withington August auction.  She then showed me a photo of a doll that her friend called a “Nantucket Doll”.  Imagine my surprise when the “Nantucket Doll” was actually an Izannah Walker doll!  The doll was dressed in a pink and white calico morning dress and had been repainted, but was clearly an Izannah Walker doll.  It just so happened that another Izannah Walker doll was up for sale in the same Withington auction.  I didn’t go to the auction, but several of the members of my doll club did.  When our club met in September, the one other Izannah collector in the club brought the doll she bought at Withington’s to show me.  No it wasn’t the “Nantucket Doll”, it was the second doll, a tiny 16 inch Izannah Walker.

www.izannahwalker.com
16 inch Izannah Walker doll purchased at Withington’s Auction August, 2016

 

Sometime later I happened upon the “Nantucket Doll” on eBay.  The winner of the Withington auction had listed her for sale.  Fast forward to the Autumn of 2015.  A very good customer, and dear online penpal, contacted me.  She had purchased an Izannah Walker doll.  Would I take a look at photos of her and see if it was possible to do some restoration work on the doll?  Low and behold, there was the “Nantucket Doll” again, now stripped of much of her repaint by a restoration professional (at the behest of the eBay seller). The little Nantucket Doll had been named Emmaline by her new mom, Anita.  Anita had a wish list of restoration areas that she would like for Emmaline.  Were they possible?  Would the restoration be a good idea? She had conscientiously had the doll evaluated by fine art appraisers before writing to me. Together we worked out a minimalist plan for Emmaline that would help her look more like the truly beautiful doll she once was, but still show her age.

So after traveling far and wide during the intervening year, Emmaline once again returned to Connecticut.  This time her destination was my studio, a mere 31 miles from Wilton where she had made her home for many years!

The first thing I did after Emmaline arrived was to ohh and ahh over her, introduce her to all of my resident Izannah Walker dolls, and then thoroughly document her condition.

Emmaline was remarkably intact for a doll of her age.  Her only real issues were on her face.  Her body was sound, with a bit of reinforcement stitching on the toes of her painted boots and fairly well matched over painting on one arm.  Even her pale pink linen second skin was still in good shape!

The biggest challenge I faced with Emmaline, was getting all of the many skin toned paint colors on her face to blend into one another. During her lifetime her face was at least partially painted several times.  Much of the overpaint on her face had been removed. What was left was a combination of her original paint that had faded and at least two other colors of flesh-tone paint. Fortunately the original paint on her shoulders, chest and back was intact, with areas of slightly yellowed varnish.  The original non-faded paint on Emmaline’s shoulders told me what color her face should be, which was very important.  When I started painting Emmaline’s face, I was very careful not to paint over any of her original paint.  I did very sheer layers of paint over my reconstructed areas and the stubborn remaining overpainting.  Because her original paint was chalky looking due to sun fading and cleaning I fed it several times with a very small amount of cold pressed linseed oil. The linseed oil helped bring the old paint back to life and also made it blend better with my new in painting. As my last painting step I wore away a smidgen of my newly applied lip paint.  I wanted to make sure that nothing I did stood out or looked new.

Once I finished painting I moved on to dressmaking.  Emmaline came with many layers of underclothing, so all I needed to do was make her extra dresses to augment her wardrobe. Sewing for Emmaline was a joy!  It was a lot of fun to dress her up in her new clothes and see her in more fitted dresses.

After her new clothing was complete Emmaline was thrilled to be heading back home! Who wouldn’t be with such a loving and caring mom?  Clearly Emmaline was fated to find such a perfect new home. Anita was so thoughtful when it came to deciding what was right for Emmaline. There could not be a better care taker for this early example of Izannah Walker’s work.  Anita was also amazingly generous to me!  She kindly allowed me to tell you about Emmaline, share photographs of her and is letting me make reproductions of her, so that other people who love Izannah Walker’s dolls can add an example of this lovely early girl to their doll families and keep Izannah’s legacy alive. ❤ Thank you Anita!!!

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Emmaline after restoration. She still looks like an adventuresome doll who loves to play, but now her years sit more lightly upon her shoulders. ❤

 

Good-bye Emmaline, we miss you little “Nantucket Doll”…

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My Izannahs loved having Emmaline come stay with us! They have all declared each other to be best friends for life!!!

And they all lived happily ever after!

THE END

(*** Move  your cursor over the photos to read the captions, click on photos to enlarge.)

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Restoration and Conservation

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 🙂