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Table of Contents
Susan Brewer, the author of British Dolls of the 1950s and its follow-up, British Dolls of the 1960s, now explores the world of 'Famous Character Dolls'. What makes a doll famous? It can be for a variety of reasons. Maybe the doll has been featured in a book, as in the case of Raggedy Ann, Little Noddy, Edith the Lonely doll and Pinocchio, or perhaps the doll is based on a book character such as Pippi Longstocking, Heidi, Tracy Beaker, Madeline, Matilda and Christopher Robin.
Some dolls depict historical characters, for instance those that were made by Peggy Nisbet, Shallowpool or Rexard, while others are representations of nursery rhyme figures, fairy tale characters or famous film stars. Pop stars are frequently portrayed in plastic, from the Spice Girls to Westlife, and from Donny Osmond to Abba -- this kind of doll is transitional because it is invariably on sale for just a short time, and once the star fades, the dolls disappear. Therefore these can be extremely collectable, with 1970s' Abba sets of dolls now selling for hundreds of pounds.
Other categories that include famous character dolls are animated films, such as Toy Story -- Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie and the others are true famous dolls, as opposed to the dolls created of Snow White, Mulan, Pochahontas and Betty Boop, all of which are intended as 'real' people. There is a subtle difference. Then there are characters from the world of advertising, dolls dressed as royalty, children's television characters, dolls in national dress and those that portray film characters: Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Captain Jack Sparrow and Eliza Doolittle. And, finally, we mustn't forget Shirley Temple, the eternal child, instantly recognisable by her ringlets and dimples and who has been depicted in doll form hundreds of times.