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VocalEyes - New Place

Wooden Doll, 1601-1700.



“When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.”
[Twelfth Night, Act 5, scene 1]

This wooden doll is carved from walnut, and dates from the early 1600s. Both shape and carving are simple and characterful, and it may have been produced by a furniture maker from off-cuts of wood to supplement his other stock and increase his income.

A female figure stands on a circular block base, feet slightly apart. She's just under 23cm tall. Her feet are bare and only have four toes. Her face is simplified, with large almond-shaped eyes inscribed into the wood. In between them is a flat nose, with only the hint of a mouth, beneath which is a rounded chin. Her hair is either short, or perhaps covered with some kind of close fitting cap which covers her ears. She has a necklace carved low on her chest, and rounded breasts. Her hands are clasped in front of her narrow waist. From here her dress, decorated with rows of upturned crescents, flares out to a scalloped hem at mid-calf.

The wood has grown darker over the years, but in certain places, her hands, breasts, forehead and nose, the wood is lighter and smooth.

This doll was likely to have been a toy for a child.