Object of the Month November 2020
Armand Marseille doll
Daisy Bateman lived with her family in Woodside Cottages in Brasted Chart. During the 1900s she attended Toys Hill School with her sister Rose and was very keen on history. Daisy lived until she was 101 years old. Her jigsaw puzzles, with star-shaped pieces, and a bisque doll she played with as a child are on display in the museum.
Daisy’s doll was made by Armand Marseille, a toy manufacturer based in Köppelsdorf in Germany. The founder was Russian but immigrated to Germany in 1860. The company first started making bisque heads in 1885 but purchased the bodies from other companies. Marseille produced baby, child and also character dolls with glass or painted eyes. The bodies were made of stuffed kid, cloth or composite material which is a mixture of glue and sawdust.
The body of Daisy’s doll is made of cloth stuffed with hair but the wig is missing sadly. It was likely made of mohair or perhaps real hair. The legs are stitched across the knee to allow them to bend and the lower arms, also missing, were made of bisque. Bisque porcelain is unglazed and has a biscuit finish, hence the name. During the 1920s, baby dolls were all the rage and Marseille produced the first one. Before ‘My Dream baby’ arrived there were no baby dolls with cute faces and curved legs. Girl dolls or lady dolls had to be cuddled in a shawl to make them look like babies. No doubt Daisy had to do the same.