Thursday, 25 November 2010

Black Beard and Captain Hook

Norah Wellings made some fantastic Display Models to feature in London Department Store Windows such as Harrods and Hamleys. To follow on from the Pirates it only seems right to write about and show you two large Display models, Black Beard and Captain Hook. I believe they would have been made to a special order as they do not appear in any catalogues. I have also included another smaller Novelty Doll who in my book I have described him as an Arab but now I wonder if he too is Black Beard?

This is Black Beard. He is a Norene Model standing an impressive 33 inches tall. He is portrayed as a Comical Pirate Character with his large felt pixie ears with hoop ear rings in each ear. His head is felt and he has painted features with smiling mouth showing teeth. His limbs are also felt with his fingers all separate and he has a cotton body. He has a black mohair wig with black mustache and beard. He wears a velvet top with silk inserts with a vinyl sash, velvet pants and child size long boots. What a character he is.

Captain Hook. He is a Norene Model and stands 33 inches tall. He has a felt face with painted features, felt limbs, fully jointed and a cotton body. He has a black mohair wig, mustache and beard. One hand is holding a cutlass and the other ends in a metal hook. He wears fabulous felt coat and knickerbockers with jersey socks and child size shoes. Very Handsome fellow.

This character is a bit of a mystery. In my book I have described him as an Arab. He does not appear in any catalgue but I do have a picture of a similar doll at the 1935 British Industry Fair. Looking closely at the photo he is standing with all the Novelty Pirates, he is the only one of this model shown. I am now wondering if he is Black Beard or another famous Pirate but of course he is still a mystery until it can be proved. I have included him here for you to see and would love to hear your opinions. He stands 18 inches tall with a wonderful felt character face, black mohair beard and black mohair wig in a bun over each ear. His arms and legs are velvet and are not jointed. He wears a very elaborate all original art silk outfit with amazing felt shoes and a scarf around his head with matching sash where he stores his large wooden cutlass. He is quite amazing.

The three models above are very rare and I wonder if anyone reading this article has any other rare dolls they would like to share. I would love to hear from you please email any photo's to

Good Luck with your search for Norah Wellings Pirates.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Pirates Are Coming!

Norah Wellings made a few different Pirate models and they were made from the mid 1930's. They were not seen in any other catalogues after 1940. Nearly all the Pirates were part of the Norah Wellings Novelty Dolls Range and they had painted features with outfits as an integral part of their body.

The only other pirates I have seen to this date that are not from the Novelty Range are two large 33 inch Norene models used for Shop Window Displays and I do not think for general sale to the public as they are not in any catalogues.One is Black Beard and the other Captain Hook but they will be added in the next article.

There are always exceptions to the rules when finding the Norah Wellings Pirates sometimes their outfits differ to those in the catalogue. I have seen model K40 holding a wooden pistol rather than a cutlass ( you will notice in the last photo K41 holds a pistol). Different fabrics are sometimes used. I have also seen model K39 without facial hair. So you never know what you might find.

Wonderful 'Pirate', model K40 in all his splendour.He was also shown in the 1936 catalgue. Very realistic face that would scare the enemy. His head is velvet and he has a felt coat, unlike the other models he has shoes as an integral part of his foot with buckles on the front. He is holding a wooden cutlass, he was only made in one size 16 inches.

Lady 'Pirate', model K41 she has lovely bright clothes and large felt boots. She has a velvet head and is a variation of the model with a scarf wrapped around her waist.

This photo shows a pirate I have not been able to find in any catalaogues.He is 15 inches tall with velvet head and he has a smiling mouth showing his teeth. He has the same body construction and boots as model K39.

This photograph shows two pirates from the 1936 catalogue. First is model K39 he is very unusual and rare to find with original painted mustache and small beard. His felt boots can be removed and he usually has his label on his foot not on his boot. He carries a wooden cutlass. He was only made in two sizes 11 1/2 inches and 15 inches. Next is model K41, the only model with a mohair wig usually in the form of a bun over each ear and as she wears a skirt she must be the female pirate although the catalogue only states 'Pirates' and their model numbers not gender. She also carries a wooden pistol.

I do hope if anyone out there has any pirates to share you will send me photo's so I can add to this article. If you do please email to

Press on any of the photo's to see an enlarged version.

My Pirate Article isn't quite finished yet as I have mentioned above I will be adding the dreaded Pirates 'Black Beard' and 'Captain Hook' in the next article. Happy Hunting

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Norah Wellings Brittania

My dear friend Mark and I were discussing Brittania a Norah Wellings Norene Doll in our last conversation and although I have written about her in my book I thought you might like to enjoy her again here.

Britannia was made for the Coronation in 1937 and my first picture shows her on the cover of the Norah Wellings Catalogue in that same year. She only appeared in two catalogues 1937 and 1938.

Norah Wellings Cover for the 1937 Catalogue

Wonderful Norah Wellings display stand at The British Industry Fair in 1937. Also in the photo are other large Norene Models in Uniform. I must also note here that some of the Norah Wellings Dolls do have painted moustaches or beards, two models here have moustaches the Guard and the Scotsman. The smaller dolls shown are from her Novelty Range and include Guards, Admirals, Canadian Mounties and Girl Guides. I wouldn't be surprised if the Boy Scouts were on the side not photographed. A very impressive display.

'Brittania' and an 'Admiral', they were both auctioned in Christies Auctioneers, London on the 28th September 2000. They sold for £646 without commission. I bid on this wonderful pair but at the time I was living in Australia and couldn't go as high as I wanted due to the cost of posting them to me. Christies very kindly said I could use the photo but I could only use so many for my book and its great to be able to show them now.
Britannia stands 33 inches tall and she is model 3143, although her dress is not original everything else is. She has a wonderful padded gold cloth helmet with ostrich plume, gold chain mail vest and holds a trident in one hand and a shield in the other. Interesting to note the shield was a painted enamel plate. This model has blonde hair but as you can see the one on display and in the catalogue has dark hair The Admiral is a Norene model also 33 inches and all original, he does not appear in the 1937 or 1938 catalogues.

I hope you enjoy seeing these wonderful dolls, just click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Norah Wellings Novelty Duck Beaded Legs

I thought you might like to see my new arrival. He is a Rare Norah Wellings Novelty Duck with Wooden Beaded Legs.The beaded leg design were only made for one catalogue in the early 1930's. There were three characters shown in the catalgue, Duck model 307, Island Girl model 308 and Sailor Doll model 309 and all around 10 inches tall. They are rare as only a small quantity being made and due to the loss of their beaded legs which often break. I imagine this is why they were disconitnued. This particular Duck model 307 is made of wool plush with felt beak and clear glass eyes. He has his original bell and ribbon around his neck with a Norah Wellings label on his foot.I just love him and I hope you enjoy seeing him.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Norah Wellings Black Dolls

I thought you might like to see a copy of the page from the early 1930's Norah Wellings Catalogue showing the Black Dolls from my other article on Leanne's Photographs. In this group Julie model 125 would be the rarest to find in her original outfit as she was only produced for a couple of years.Sorry the picture isn't very clear but I only have a photo copy of the catalogue. To enlarge the photo just click on it.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Norah Wellings Photographs

Hello Everyone,
Sorry I have taken so long to add anything to my Norah Wellings Journal. I have been away in Australia visiting my family having a wonderful time. I did not pick up any Norah Wellings on my travels I'm afraid but on my return had an email from a fellow collector Leeanne Simpson sharing some of her wonderful dolls. I have asked permission to add a few of them to my Norah Wellings Journal and Leeanne has kindly allowed me to use them.

The top picture shows a rare pair of Norah Wellings Native American Indians. They are hard to find in the larger sizes and these are both 16 inches tall in lovely condition. Wonderful realistic faces and bright felt costumes. They have painted eyes and I have never seen any with glass eyes. The male is model K23 called 'Hawk Eye'. The female squaw in this photo is rare to find and she is not shown in any of the catalogues I have. an early British Industry Fair photo in the 1930's shows both models on display and believe this was their debut. Norah Wellings made a few different Native American Indian models including a squaw in a different costume and I will write more about them at a later date.

The two black dolls in the next picture are both the earlier glass eyed Norah Wellings. They were made from 1927 to mid 1930's with glass eyes and the later ones had painted eyes. The female is called 'DuDu' model 119 and she is also found with a short curly wig as well as her longer hair pulled on top in a bun. The male is 'ZuZu' model 109. He was made with painted eyes right up until the catalogue in the last Norah Wellings 1959. Both dolls were made in various sizes from 9 inches to 36 inches.

Next we have a fabulous large 36 inch Norah Wellings Girl once again called 'DuDu' but this is model 122 with glass eyes, she was made from 1927. She does not appear in the Norah Wellings catalogues after 1940. Later dolls are seen with painted eyes. She waers a raffia skirt,raffia bra style top and beads around her arms and ankles. She came with variations to her raffia clothing and also sometimes with a short curly wig. Made in sizes 9 1/2 inches to 37 inches.

Another wonderful large Black doll called 'ZuZu', model 121 he is 36 inches tall with glass eyes, produced from 1927 until around 1940. Later dolls had painted eyes. he wears a raffia skirt with raffia tied around his legs, leg bracelets with raffia threaded just like the necklace he wears. Once again he can be found with variations to his raffia costume and in a range of sizes from 12 inches to 37 inches.

Norah Wellings made a variety of Black Dolls and I hope to show you more at a later date

Thank you once again Leeanne for sharing your photo's with us.
If anyone would like to share photo's please email me at

Happy Norah Wellings Hunting

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Norah Wellings and Cinderella Plastic Shoes

I am sure many collectors when buying a Norah Wellings doll with plastic shoes would think they can't possibly be original.....well they are. Norah Wellings used them in the early 1950's on most of her Norene Models and also on some smaller National Dolls.If you have not seen these shoes before they have Made In England, Cinderella and a number written on sole of the shoe corresponding to the size of the shoe. I have taken two photo's from a 1950's catalogue showing some Norene Models, as you can see only one doll out of seven is wearing felt shoes, all the others are the are plastic Cinderella shoes. I do not know why they were used and can only guess that perhaps Norah Wellings thought she would use shoes more like a child's. It must have been cheaper to make the felt shoes so I can't see the cost being the reason unless she was given a huge selection of them. Anyway the next time you see a 1950's Norah Wellings doll with plastic shoes don't take them off and make felt ones as they are probably original this also means if you wish to replace any shoes on the Norene Dolls I have shown in this catalogue buy plastic Cinderella ones.