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Nearly as dramatic as the introduction of molded-felt faces was the introduction of the R. John Wright children dolls in 1981. Not only was the medium of felt well suited to a child's form, but in gravitating towards child dolls, the Wrights were continuing an important tradition of dollmaking. Early twentieth century makers had widely made children their principal subject.
When Susan and John began to consider making children dolls they had been honing their craft making adult Character Dolls dressed in ethnic clothing. But their eyes had been opened by the antique dolls they had been examining - and had begun to collect - and these influences mixed with their own developing style. And so, inspired by the sturdy playful cloth forms of Kathe Kruse and Lenci as well as the realistic German bisque Kammer & Reinhardt child dolls, John began to sculpt what would soon become the Little Children face and Susan began to draft the patterns for a new, more childlike, body.
In designing the first RJW child dolls, the Wrights' could not help but be inspired by their own toddler, Lillian. Indeed, she became one of the Little Children series which consisted of eight dolls: Lillian; Jesse; Tad; Hannah; Becky; Peter; William; and Elizabeth. In the process, the Wrights created their own distinctly late twentieth-century child doll. With their rounded body forms and face shapes and their half-somber/half-smiling expressions, the Little Children managed to suggest both readiness to play and a willingness to share in quiet reflection. Antique doll collectors responded immediately to the evocation of early dollmakers implicit in the work, and many found themselves, for the first time, collecting contemporary dolls.
Tad from the original Little Children series stands approximately 17" tall, and is fully jointed at the neck, shoulders, and hips. He is constructed of fine wool felt with a molded face, hand painted features, a wig of fine imported mohair, and felt hands with sewn fingers.
Tad is costumed in an outfit reminiscent of 19th Century Americana. He wears a long sleeved tab collar shirt made of cotton shirting with a woven stripe and fastened down the front and at the cuffs with grey dome snaps. He sports a pair of duck canvas trousers with shoulder straps that cross in the back and button at the waistband. Brown cotton socks, and hand-cobbled leather boots complete his charming rustic outfit. Tad comes complete with a miniature fishing rod which includes an actual tiny fishook attached to a cork bobbin. This doll is #185 in the edition of 250 pieces.
Tad has a tiny foil "Periwinkle" medallion sewed to his clothing. The Periwinkle tag was only used for a very short time in the 1980's before the brass RJW button was introduced. Tad is packaged in the first-ever RJW deluxe presentation boxes.
The Tad offered here was made in 1983 and comes directly from R. John Wright Archives in pristine as-new condition.
The online purchase price includes shipping and insurance in the domestic United States. For overseas shipping rates, please contact the RJW office. You may also place your order request via phone at 1-802-447-7072. All orders are subject to availability.