@1 year ago with 5 notes
Kewpie doll, J. D. Kestner, 1913.
The Kewpie was invented by the poet and artist Rose O’Neill, first featured in magazine illustrations in 1909 and was patented in 1913. The name ‘Kewpie’ comes from the resemblance to the naked babies known as cupids, after Cupid the Roman god of love. Over the next few years the Kewpie became really popular - people bought Kewpie books and accessories to match, such as rattles, soap, dishes and salt-and-pepper shakers. Some women even began to pluck their eyebrows in the style of the doll.
This is an all bisque Kewpie doll made in about 1913 by the German manufacturer J. D. Kestner of Waltershausen. It is jointed at the shoulders so that its arms can move up and down and has painted features, including its eyes which have been moulded onto the head and painted. It is about 12cm tall.
The Kewpie dolls were first manufactured in Germany but were later made in Belgium and France after the outbreak of the First World War. Later models were made using other materials, such as celluloid, wood, and paper. The Kewpie doll is one of the earliest examples of toy mass toy manufacturing.
The V&A Museum of Childhood