|Antique Dolls of the 1960’s|
The evolution of dolls into what we know today is a path which has mirrored much of civilisation, with figurines resembling dolls being found in many sites across the globe, from Egypt to Rome. We do not know their intended purpose, but dolls for children to play with seem to have come into their own during the seventeenth century, when childhood became seen as a life stage rather than necessarily just a step to adulthood. Play became more accepted, and dolls began to properly manufactured, often of carved wood. Materials evolved over time to offer dolls constructed of papier mache, wax, china and bisque. They were dressed in costumes reflecting the fashions of the time, and often show a clear image of current perceptions of beauty and popular image. Modern dolls still cast such reflections, but periods throughout history can be examined throuogh attention to the toys and dolls of the era.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, the advent of modern plastics mean a change to the whole culture of doll manufacture. With many dolls made of vinyl which was much cheaper and easier to mass produce, with a new range of functions. Unlike papier mache dolls or similar, these could be bathed, and have hair attached rather than glued on. The main thing was their affordability, and in fact collectors today often find that it is much harder to source a mint condition 60’s vinyl doll than something made of china and manufactured 50 years earlier, simply because the older dolls were more cherished and looked after.
A new book, British Dolls of the 1960’s, by Susan Brewer (published by Pen and Sword Books Ltd) examines the history and influences of and on these dolls, which reflect so much of an exciting time in British history. In Britain, flower power was everywhere, colour was important, man reached the moon. Dolls like Sindy which burst onto the scene were reflecting current fashions and political trends in their themes and outfits, from the shortest skirts to Action Man – a doll for boys! Brewer’s book takes a fascinating look through the decade at the types of doll which were available, the advent of the Tiny Tears dolls and the changing faces of baby dolls.
For more information on this and many other collectables, nostalgia and militaria titles, see www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
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