Learn about Wax Dolls

Wax was used by doll makers from the 17th to the 20th centuries. It enabled facial expressions to be skillfully captured, and Victorian wax dolls often represented children in the sentimental manner typical of those times.

Wax dolls are made in one of three ways: poured (into a mold); wax over papier mache or other material and reinforced wax.

Wax dolls did not shatter when dropped like ceramic dolls, but they are easily scratched, or nicked and rapid changes in temperature cause them to crack or distort. Due to the fragile nature of the material, wax dolls have not survived in large numbers.

The best known British wax doll makers of the 19th century are Charles Marsh (1865 - 1914), Lucy Peck (1891 - 1930), Pierotti (1770 - 1942) and Madame Augusta Montanari (1851-1884). Pierotti also supplied heads to other manufacturers. Due to the difficulty of including a permanent marking within the wax, where a manufacturer identified their products, it was usually by a paper label, many of which have come loose and been lost over the years.

Damaged wax dolls cannot be easily repaired, so damage to a wax doll will have a serious effect on its value. more...
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Mid 19th century (1850/60) probable English poured wax shoulder plate doll, blue stationary eyes, closed mouth, brown real hair wig on rag body 56 cm with original black, lace trimmed dress, four layers of undergarments and leather boots (face wax has faul

Rare wax head character doll, 20 inch with cloth body and costume (head has crack)

A mid 19th century wax doll with inset glass eyes, with a range of period clothing. Height 49 cm

A mid 19th century wax on composition shoulder plate doll with blue glass eyes, fabric body with composition head and feet, some faults. Victorian period clothing. Height 67 cm

Pair of 18th century wax dolls, Italian, each modelled in the form of a pair of courtiers a man and his wife in original dress, on stained platform bases, heights 47 cm

Antique wax shoulder plate lady doll, stationary blue glass eyes blonde mohair wig on rag body with wax and composition limb limbs, part original costume (faults)