Walker, Izannah – American Dollmaker

An Izannah Walker oil-painted pressed stockinette doll having hand-painted features including brown eyes, brown painted hair with center part and two spiral tendrils in front of each applied ear, pink cheek blush, and a painted closed mouth

p4A ItemID D9734947
An Izannah Walker painted cloth Child, having an oil-painted stockinette head and shoulders, hand-painted features including brown eyes, brown painted hair with center part, seven back corkscrew curls and finely brush stroked wisps of hair above applied ears, pierced nostrils, pink cheek blush and a painted closed mouth

p4A ItemID D9733516
An oil-painted pressed stockinette cloth Izannah Walker girl Child doll featuring brown eyes, pink mouth and cheek coloring, brown hair with center part, and two long curls in front of applied ears

p4A ItemID D9691724
An oil painted cloth girl doll possibly by Izannah Walker wearing her original hand-stitched printed cotton dress and underclothes

p4A ItemID E8908755

Izannah Walker – Early American Cloth Dolls

Izannah Walker began creating cloth dolls in her Central Falls, Rhode Island, home in the 1850′s and on into the 1880′s, becoming one of the earliest of the commercial doll producers. The process she used (which allegedly came to her in a dream) was alternating layers of cloth and paste that ingeniously stiffened cloth dolls and hardened them to a papier-mache-like quality. The bodies were formed in two halves which were stuffed and glued together around a strengthening wooden armature, and then covered with fabric. Walker hand-painted the arms, legs and hair with oil paints. The painting of the hair was one of Walker’s distinctive features with typical corkscrew curls. The faces were given varying features with the use of different molds. Whatever the mold, her dolls tended to have the appealing features of a sweet, innocent child. (They have been compared to those of the children painted by American itinerant artist Ammi Phillips.)


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