Tuesday, 27 October 2009
I thought you might like to see two rare Norah Wellings babies from my collection. These wonderful Twins are Norah Wellings Jolly Todders and are model 2129. They were made from about 1939 to early 1940's. They are only 10 inches tall and quite chubby. They have felt heads with painted features. The hair is air brushed and they have separate ears. Only the head is jointed. Arms and legs are velvet and they have a cotton body. Both wear original organdy dresses, cotton pants and knitted booties. The bonnets were made later, the original ones would have been organdy to match their dresses. Both have Norah Wellings labels on the inside of their wrists. I have shown a picture taken from the 1939 catalogue. Wonderful pair so cute.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Just after I completed my book in 2003 I was delighted to see advertised at Auction in America this wonderful box of Pixies. Luckily for me I won them but unfortunately too late for my book. They are really a mystery, the box is marked 1001 which should contain the items shown on the box lid. Looking at them from left to right Dutch Boy model 123, Sammy model 126, Knutto Monkey model 450 Dudu model 122,Jollyboy model 139 and Turko, model 955. As you can see the box has four wonderful Pixes inside. Normally a box of Pixies would contain 6 different models and it would be marked 1006.This leads to the Mystery.. either.. the wrong box was sent with an order containing only 4 Pixies or 6 Pixies were sent and 2 have gone missing. Another possibility is the box and the Pixies may have been matched up at a later date by the original owner of both, only speculation. Despite them being mix and match I was thrilled to win them and it is lovely to see such a colourful box with equally bright and colourful contents. I should mention the box itself is all red with a gold design and measures 11 1/2 inches by 9 inches. Usually the Norah Wellings Boxes are very plain with only the Norah Wellings symbol at the end of the box.
The Pixies were first shown in the Norah Wellings Catalgue in 1936. They are at the top of my list of favourites. The models in this box from left to right are 1121, 1123, 1124 and 1125. The first two models only appeared for a couple of years and are the hardest to find. They are all between 8 and 9 inches in height. All have felt heads with painted faces (no ears). The first two models are bald and the last two have painted hair. All have Painted faces, velvet clothing as an integral part of their bodies, felt hats,felt pointy feet to represent pixie shoes and felt single piece hands. The blue model 1124 has Felt Wings.All have Norah Wellings labels sewn to their their feet. Two of the Pixies also have their cardboard round label stating 'I'm one of Norah Wellings' "Little Pixie People"
I hope you enjoy seeing these wonderful Norah Wellings Pixies and their Mystery Box.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Norah Wellings wonderful 'Bones' is a commical dog. He is model 234. This great character made his appearance in 1927 at the first British Industry Fair Norah Wellings attended with her new business from Victoria Toy Works. It is interesting to note that Dismal Desmond looking a very similar comical dog also made his first appearance at this Fair although he was launched by Dean's in 1926. 'Bones' did not appear again in any Norah Wellings catalogues until after 1930, one wonders if there was any problem due to his simerality. 'Bones' was made until around 1938 then discontinued. The Games and Toys magazine in April 1927 quotes what they thought about his first appearance 'Other lines shown at this stand include 'Bones', a grotesque looking dog', I do not think this would help much for marketing him to the Toy Shop buyers. I think he is very cute. There is no mention of 'Bones' being made to present any particular comic strip or book character.
I have shown a picture of the Norah Wellings Stand at the British Industry Fair in 1927 and as you can see a large 'Bones'is standing at the entrance. He appears to be fully jointed, however only his head is jointed on the models sold from the catalogues that I have seen and they were only available in sizes 7 and 12 inches. They were made of velvet with either glass or painted eyes. Available in lovely bright colours. Colours I have seen so far are blue, red and yellow.
The picture above shows three 'Bones' dogs, the two larger ones are 12 inches tall with lovely glass eyes and the smaller one is 7 inches tall with painted eyes. They are all made of velvet with their limbs sewn on and they all have a little tail.
I have also added a very rare 'Bones' nightdress case pictured on the right hand side. Thank you so much to Julie Wyles a friend of mine who has kindly allowed me to use this photo. He is not featured in any of my catalogues.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about this wonderful character who would be a rare addition to any collection.
Sunday, 26 April 2009
I thought I might share a couple of Rare Japanese Norah Wellings Girls that I have in my collection. They were both made before 1936 and appear to have been discontinued by the 1936 catalogue.
The top doll is a Norene Model 848. She is the smallest size 12 inches and they were made in various sizes. This little girl has a wonderful felt face with painted Asian features. She has the usual zig zag stitching at the back of her head with separate ears. She is completely made of felt including her body. Her head and legs are jointed but her arms are sewn on. Her hands are sewn mitt style This appears to be a feature of the smaller model. ( On page 115 of my book you can see the face of a larger 18 inch Norene Japanese Girl, her body is cotton, fully jointed and her middle two fingers were joined together).This smaller girl has a black mohair wig in a bun at the back.
She is wearing her original floral pink cotton teddy underwear. Her Kimono is felt with felt applique shapes and a felt tie around her waist. Her orignal felt strap shoes have quilted soles. In her hair she has lovely felt flowers on on both sides
The next girl is a Novelty Doll Model 230. Once again this is the smallest size 12 inches and they were also made in 15",19" and 37 inches. She has a velveteen Head, separate ears and painted features. Lovely black mohair wig in a bun at the back. Her body, legs and upper arms are cotton with velveteen mitt hands. Only her head is jointed, arms and legs sewn on.
She is wears a white cotton Teddy as underwear. Lovely original velveteen Kimono with applique felt shapes sewn on and a felt tie around her waist. She also has original socks and felt shoes. Felt Flowers adorn her hair on either side.
It is interesting to note that these models can be found with either mohair or wool strand wigs. There can also be variations on material used for clothing. I have added a photograph of a Japanese Nightdress Case at the side which shows the wool wig. I hope you enjoy seeing these lovely Rarer Norah Wellings Dolls
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Well Easter is nearly upon us so I thought I would show a few Norah Wellings Bunny Rabbits.The rabbits are from the Novelty Animal range.
The first rabbits pictured are my favourites. They are both model 561 and were only made for a few years in the early 1930's and discontinued by 1936. They are fantastic characters and dressed typical of the time as if in their lounge suits. Both are 13 inches tall to the top of their ears. They are made of wool plush with glass eyes, the lighter one having clear glass eyes and the other brown ( these are original). Most of the velvet outfit is an integral part of the body except for the body part of the jacket which is infact sleeveless and removeable but matching the arms. They both have different buttons on their outfits and they are original with a Norah Wellings label on the bottom of the foot. I bought the lighter one many years ago and found the other one recently, how happy they were to find each other not to mention me, especially being different colours. Although I have a black and white picture in one of the earlier catalogues only the model number is mentioned.
The next picture is of a rabbit called 'Bunty' model K60. He was made in 5 sizes from 7 to 25 inches. Again made of wool plush with glass eyes and velvet clothing as an integral part of his body. Only his head is jointed. He appears in the 1936 catalogue but not in any of my other catalogues. I love the way he looks very distinguished. He reminds me of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, just needs his pocket watch!
I have also pictured with the Nightdress Cases Model 970 made in the early 1930's and 18 inches tall. Made of wool plush with glass eyes and velvet outfit and skirt to hold the nightdress.These also came wth felt or other material for the skirt.Norah Wellings label is on the foot.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these Bunny Rabbits. Norah Wellings did make other models and some are featured in my book.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy Easter!
Don't worry I haven't forgotten all of you who are interested in Norah Wellings Soft Toys. I have to say the Animals are my favourites.
The Norah Wellings Teddy Bear came under the Novely Animals in the catalogues. He was called 'Bear' and he was model 570. He first featured in the early 1930's catalogue. Only his head is jointed and I have found them made of wool plush and mohair plush. He was a dressed bear with his clothes being an integral part of his body. The clothing was either completely made of velvet or a check cotton shirt( last model is featured on page 95 of my book).
They were made in 7 sizes between 8 inches and a huge 36 inches tall.It is interesting to note in 1936 you could buy a dozen 14 inch bears for 40/- ( equals £2 which in this day and age is £73.96p!). The only bear sold individually was the 36 inch bear for 21/- ( equals £1.05 which is £37.75 in todays money).
The top bear pictured is in wonderful condition and is the only one I have seen so far made of mohair plush. He is 16 inches tall with glass eyes. He has his Norah WEllings label on the base of his foot.
The two bears pictured together are the two smallest sizes made in the late 1930's. The one dressed in mustard is 8 inches and the one in red 9 1/2 inches tall. They both have their Norah Wellings label on the bottom of the foot.Both are wool plush with the smallest one being very well loved!
Also in the Novely Animals was a small standing Bear and Polar Bear. The Bear was model 5116/0 but I do not have the model number for the Polar Bear. They were made in the 1930 and 1940's, both around 3 inches tall. I have seen the Bear with glass eyes but have only seen the Polar Bear with embroidery eyes.
Norah Wellings also made a Teddy Bear NightDress Case in the 1930's and 40's. He was also called 'Bear'model 973B .They came in one size 17 inches and were made of wool plush and have been found with either, art silk, felt or velvet base skirts to carry the nightdress.
During the early 1950's a bear was introduced with washable fur, once again he was not jointed and wore cotton removeable dungarees ( page 99 of my book).
It is interesting to note there were no Teddy Bears featured in the last few catalogues of Norah Wellings.
I am so pleased to show another wonderful doll Ann Willis has sent to share with us. It seemed very fitting to put her on now after my article Mystery Dolls below as this little darling is also wearing a cape and she does not feature in my catalogues. She is a Norah Wellings Norene Girl. Ann has kindly sent this description of her.
My doll is 15 inches and has the label on her right foot. She has nylon pants and vest with straps. Her dress is voile (I think) and attaches with two poppers on the right shoulder. The underskirt is attached to the dress and is ruched and has a lined bodice, it fastens with 2 mother of pearl buttons with loops.She has nylon socks with velvet shoes with mother of pearl buttons. A red cloak with hood, very soft velvet , like art silk, lined with pinky beige satin, it also fastens with a mother of pearl button. Her hair ribbons are not original. I don't know if she originally had plaits but the hair is too thin to do anything else.
Wonderful Norene girl I did ask Ann if she felt the cape was original and she thinks it is, also by the material and construction it sounds like it would be. The catalogues I have do show a few Norene Dolls with dresses similar to this but none of them have a cape. Once again if anyone else has her pictured somewhere I would love to know.
When watching ebay a while ago I saw an unusal Norah Wellings Girl that I hadn't seen before, she was being sold by a favourite Ebay Seller of mine Gina owner of the ebay shop girltoyinternational.com who has very kindly let me show her pictures above. When I fist saw her I wondered if she was a version of Red Riding Hood. Although her cape isn't red it does have red trim.She also reminded me of a possible Irish Girl? I can't see her in any of my catalogues and I am wondering if anyone else has seen her in a catalogue or any other suggestions? I would say she is from the 1940's. Gina's doll stands 16 inches tall and only her head is jointed. She has mohair plaits and wears a velvet dress with a velvet cape. Unusual velvet shoes part of her leg with wonderful ballet type ties going up her leg
Low and behold as usually happens in this wonderful world of collecting only a couple of months later I managed to buy a smaller version of the same model only 11 inches tall. Same construction but smaller and with the normal velvet shoes we see.. Both Dolls are pictures above. Would love to hear any suggestions you might have.
Sunday, 8 February 2009
What a wonderful surprise I had today when opening my emails. Ann Willis has sent this fabulous photo of her Rare Norene Girl Model 810. I believe this to be the first Norene Girl made by Norah Wellings. She first appears in an early 1930's catalogue and was discontinued before 1936. The model number 810 is the lowest seen in any of the Norene Dolls I have found so far. Please see below the description Ann has sent with the doll.
'She is 18 inches, has her original clothes of felt, her dress fastens with a mother of pearl button. She has a decidedly off-white onesie. She has lost her original shoes and I don't know if her socks are original. She has individual fingers but surprisingly does not have rotational arms, they are sewn on'.
I have learnt something new, I did not know the arms on the first Norene Girls were sewn on and not jointed. None of the catalogues mention her construction so Ann's description is invaluable. The advertisement also mentions a 19 inch rather than 18 inch doll. Sizes always vary so please keep this in mind. You will also find outfits in different colour ways, material or a slightly different style than those shown in an advertisement. This is the fun of collecting .
Once again A Big Thank You To Ann for sharing her doll. She has also sent me another model that I will be writing about at another time.
This advertisement is from an early 1930's Norah Wellings Catalogue showing Model 810 and the sizes she was available in. She appears in 3 catalogues. Only black and white photo's are used. She does not appear in the 1936 Cataloge so this model must have been discontinued by then. If you click on this photo you will see a larger image. Please take a look at the wonderful photo Ann Willis has shared with us of this rare model.
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Norah Wellings was a very talented artist and designer of cloth dolls, she started her career with Chad Valley in 1919 and became one of their chief doll designers. Leonard Wellings her brother was also an artist and well known for his plastering skills having his own premises in Wellington, Shropshire. When Norah left Chad Valley it was Leonard who suggested Norah rent a room in his building to make Cloth Dolls and Soft Toys. Norah moved into the premises in 1926 with only six women employees and called the small factory room The Victoria Toy Works. Norah Wellings began production and the catalogues and letterheads described the company as ‘Manufacturers of Soft Fabric Toys and Novelties’. Leonard was involved in the business and promotion side of the company as well as continuing with his own plastering firm. Norah designed all of the dolls and soft toys herself. In 1927 Norah attended her first British Industry Toy Fair where her Products were shown for the first time with great success. The business grew very quickly and Leonard and Norah decided they needed larger premises and in 1929 bought a Baptist Chapel in King Street, Wellington, which was expanded and buildings added over the years. At the peak time during the 1930’s there were around 250 employees. Norah Wellings was also one of Britain’s leading doll exporters with over 70% of sales going overseas, this is why so many dolls are found world wide today. Many of the products were sold on board ship as holiday souvenirs. When Leonard Wellings died in 1959 at the age of 67 Norah had lost not only her brother but also her business partner and best friend. Norah decided it was time to retire and so on September 4th 1959 Employees were given two weeks notice and production ceased. Norah spent her retirement doing the things she enjoyed, painting, cooking and gardening, Norah Wellings died in 1975 at the age of 82.