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