O Museu da Infância é um dos museus V&A em Londres. Confira a coleção de brinquedos, ursinhos, vestimentas e bonecas do museu.
The Museum has an extraordinary and varied collection of over 8,000 dolls, ranging from the earliest, a wooden paddle doll dating from 1,300BC, to the most contemporary, a punk doll from the Bratz Boyz 2005 range. The dolls represent men, women, and children from all around the world and many fantasy and fairytale characters. They are also made from a wide range of materials – from traditional materials such as wood, cloth, ceramic, wax and plastic to more unusual ones like dried fruit, mutton bones and hair.
This doll is known in the Museum as the ‘Old Pretender’, as it was believed that she had once belonged to the court of King James II at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (the original Old Pretender was James Stuart, son of King James II).
By the beginning of the 19th century wax had become the most popular material for professional doll makers. It was favoured due to its warm, gleaming and lucid qualities – perfect for making dolls and moulding realistic facial features.
Rag dolls have been around for centuries. They were hand-made by mothers for their small children, often very simple in design and made using various materials found around the home. Without exception, every culture across the world has their own variation.
The Museum’s doll collection has many dolls made from bisque. Bisque was first introduced as a material for making dolls in the 1830s. It is a type of unglazed ceramic that was used to make their heads and limbs – the dolls’ bodies and limbs were made from more hardy materials, such as moulded composition (a wood-pulp mixture) or stuffed cloth.
Doll manufacturers started using celluloid in the 1860s. However, the drawbacks of using celluloid to make dolls were that it faded if exposed to bright light, it could be easily crushed and it was highly flammable. By the 1950s plastic was invented and materials such as vinyl became more popular.
The Museum has an extensive toy collection – toys have been, and continue to be, central to the childhood experience. In the past, most children would have had home-made toys, made from materials commonly found around the home.In ancient times, Greek and Roman children are known to have played with marbles, spinning tops and clay dolls. It was not until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that toys were mass produced.
The Museum has a substantial collection of wooden toys, which are described as traditional toys. Many of these toys were first made in Germany. A highlight of this part of the collection is a set of sample sheets, which were carried by salesmen from the beginning of the 19th century to trade fairs and exhibitions.
We now know that it is important to encourage learning through play, an idea which has been put forward by many educators over the years.
Construction or building toys, such as Lego and Meccano, which help children to learn and develop their creative skills have been popular for many years.
The toys in this section were all designed to move. Moving toys range from push and pull toys to more complex clockwork and battery-operated toys.
Puppets have been used for entertainment for centuries in countries all over the world. Travelling puppeteers were very popular in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Toy theatres became a popular form of family entertainment during the 19th century. It is generally believed that they were invented in 1811 by a man called William West, who had a stationery business in London, when he started to produce printed sheets of characters from various plays.
The Museum has a varied collection of character toys. Some of our early examples are Dismal Desmond, Mickey Mouse and Shirley Temple. While their existence pre-dated the 20th century, it was only in the latter half of that century that the popularity of character toys exploded, alongside the rapid expansion in film production.
The history of games goes back thousands of years. The earliest game in the Museum’s collection dates from the 16th century. Games have rules and the main objective of any game is to win, whether it is played by individuals or teams. Some games are also designed to be used as learning tools.
The strategy game and the race game are the two main types of board game. The race game appears in all sorts of guises: educational, moral, competitive and fun. A race game involves two or more players competing against each other in order to win.
While standard playing cards have been around for centuries, children’s card games have only appeared relatively recently. Happy Families, for example, was first published in the 1860s.
The Museum’s collection of table and outdoor games includes marbles, a game played in ancient Egypt and Subbuteo, a football game, invented in the mid 20th century.
The jigsaw puzzle has been one of the most consistently popular toys for more than two hundred years and played with by both children and adults.
The Museum’s childcare collection ranges in date from the 1600s to present day and shows the variety of equipment that has been designed and made specifically for children and their carers. The foundation of this group of items is the collection of children’s furniture, some of which has been in the Museum for over a hundred years, and which ranges from a 1641 cradle to an IKEA chair of 2001. Prams, feeding equipment, rattles and potties have been added, together with other aids for hygiene, eating and mobility.
Sumptuous items probably intended as Christening or birth presents include a silver-gilt pap boat of 1809, an 1864 silver gilt set (knife, fork, spoon, mug, bowl and plate) with motifs from Canova’s sculptures, and a large silver rattle of 1868.
Rocking cradles have been popular for centuries, and are found in many different cultures. The movement is soothing for babies. A cradle (or cot, or crib) is the first bed most of us have. Simple ones have been made or adapted from natural materials. Some of the earliest beds for babies were rushwork baskets and hollowed-out pieces of tree trunk.
A silver pap boat of 1735 is the earliest dated item in the group, contrasting with an 18th century American feeding vessel of pressed tin. The 19th century feeding items include a silver nipple shield of 1812 .There are other examples from the 1900s and the 1980s respectively; two breast-pumps from 1905 and 1986.
It was not until the late 19th century that the range of equipment for use in childcare started to expand. Mass production and the introduction of cheaper materials, such as pressed sheet metal instead of handcrafted wood or porcelain, meant that more people could buy such items.
The Museum’s collection of children’s furniture is probably the largest in the UK, with over one hundred pieces ranging from a traditional English oak cradle dated 1641 to an ergonomically designed Norwegian high chair of the 1990s.
Although the pram collection is mainly post World War Two, the Museum has a child’s 18th century carriage, a 19th century stick wagon and a 19th century perambulator by Simpson & Fawcett, one of the earliest makers.
Rattles in their most basic form, as simple toys to divert babies, go back to at least the 2nd century BC. Over the years they have been made to simple designs in materials ranging from dried gourds, woven sticks and hollowed-out bones, to much more elaborate styles in glass, silver and gold.
The Museum’s dolls’ house collection is the largest British collection not in private hands. The oldest house, the Nuremberg House of 1673, is one of the Museum’s greatest treasures. There is also a small group of 18th century houses, including the magnificent Tate Baby House of about 1760, and a rich holding from the 19th century. Some were made by carpenters whilst others, such as the house given to the Museum in 1921 by Queen Mary, have royal connections.
This house was made in Nuremberg in 1673 – the date is written on the chimney. It is the oldest house in the Museum and is very similar to (though much smaller than) the houses in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, Germany.
One of the best known doll or ‘baby’ (meaning small) houses in the collection, dating from about 1760.
This house is named after Denton Welch, a famous artist and writer born in Shanghai in 1915. Welch came to England in 1933 to study art.
This house was made in the early 1800s, probably by a carpenter. In 1965 Mrs Winifred Alice Hibberd bought it from a shop in London for £60. She spent 14 years restoring and furnishing it. She noted in her diary that it ‘had originally been made for a family living in a house in Regents Park Terraces’.
An elegant example of a dolls’ house in a cabinet, made in the early 1800s and commissioned by a Manchester doctor, Dr John Killer.
This house is a good example of a dolls’ house which was not a child’s plaything. Instead it was made for a lady called Mrs Bryant in the early 1860s.
Betty Pinney was born in 1907. She studied art and became a wallpaper and textile designer for the Edinburgh Weavers and Sandersons.
Made in 1890 for a little girl called Amy Miles, this house contains some of the latest domestic technology of the time in miniature, a billiard room, and separate nursery and schoolroom.
This house is a model of a house in Kilburn High Road, North London, which no longer exists. It was made in 1900 for the owner Mr Samuel Loebl, as a present for his daughter, Cecy. Both his daughter and his grand-daughter played with the house. His grand-daughter donated the house to the Museum in 1972.
Jessie M King was one of the artists who were part of the Glasgow School in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries.
George and Joseph Lines were the most important British toy makers of the 19th century. They made rocking horses and other toys, and by the end of the century were producing a large number of dolls’ houses of different types.
This is one of a group of dolls’ houses made by the company Lines Bros. of Merton, Surrey whose trademark was Tri-ang.
This dolls’ house was made in the 1930s by Lines Bros. of Merton, Surrey whose trademark was Tri-ang.
The Kaleidoscope House was designed by Peter Wheelwright, a practising New York architect who has designed a number of homes for New York artists, and Laurie Simmons, an internationally-renowned artist and photographer who uses dolls’ house imagery in her work. One of her best known images is of a house on a pair of women’s legs.
The Museum has the largest public collection of children’s clothing in the UK – over 6,000 items. Its scope ranges from tiny garments for newborns to a kaftan worn by a student dropout, and includes accessories, underwear, nightwear, fancy dress, uniforms, and clothes for baptism and mourning as well as main garments such as dresses, shoes, coats and trousers. The earliest item is a baby’s swaddling band of 1575-1600 and the most recent is a boy’s shirt and jeans from 2003.
Examples of boy’s costume from the Museum’s collection incliude a ‘Scotch’ suit and a Fauntleroy style suit worn during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign.
The Museum’s costume collection comtains girl’s clothing designed for a variety of occasions. This selection ranges in date from the 1760s to the 1940s.
This range of unisex items from the Museum includes hats, footwear and costume designed for babies and children.
The teddy bear is a relative newcomer, despite being possibly the most popular toy in the world. At the beginning of the 20th century Richard Steiff wanted to make soft toys more lifelike by giving them moving joints. One of his first experiments with this technique was a bear which was shown at the Leipzig Toy Fair in Germany in March 1903. The teddy bear gets its name from Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.
The first British bear was made by J K Farnell in 1906. Other early bears were made by W J Terry, Dean’s Rag Book Co Ltd, Chad Valley and Chiltern. While early British bears copied the German look, later on they began to change – their bodies became fatter, their faces flatter and their arms and legs shorter. British makers also experimented with different materials.
The German company Steiff made the very first teddy. The bear is a very important animal in Germany both in folklore and as a mascot. Many German toy manufacturers continue to make teddy bears.
Teddy bears quickly became popular all over the world especially in the US where the name Teddy originated. Notably, France, Japan and Australia all began and continue to manufacture bears.
Stories about bears have been around for hundreds of years. They have always been popular in the fairy and folk tales of Europe. As soon as teddy bears first appeared, stories about them followed. Rupert Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh and Paddington are some of the most famous bears in books. Film and television have also produced well known bears such as Superted.
The Museum’s collection of soft toys is rich in domestic animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits and wild animals such as elephants and lions. It also features more exotic creatures including a chameleon. Most of the important soft toy manufacturers, past and present, are represented.
The golly has played a significant part in the history of toys for over 100 years and the V&A Museum of Childhood has a considerable collection of golly material.
Staff at the Museum talk about their favourite objects in the collection.
By Stephen Nicholls, Exhibitions Manager
The reason I have chosen this toy pedal car as my favourite is because I think it’s an amazing piece of craftsmanship and I would have loved to have had it as a child…
By Robert Moye, Deputy Director
I’ve been trying to work out why the optical toys section of our collections is my favourite. As a kid I was fascinated by optical illusions or anything which tricked the eye, and I used to make simple flicker books in the corner of my school exercise books.
By Lucy Tindle, Assistant to the Director
My Game Boy was the first expensive thing that I remember saving up for. I used my Christmas money and I remember going to the toy department in Fenwicks to buy it.
By Rhian Harris, Director
My favourite object in the Museum is the Killer Cabinet Dolls’ House which you can find on the First Floor, alongside the rest of the Museum’s spectacular collection of dolls’ houses.
By Ieuan Hopkins, Archivist
This isn’t the most beautiful object in the collection. It’s not particularly valuable or old. Not so long ago it was a piece of rubbish.
British Toy Making
3 years… 4 archives… Countless stories.
The V&A Museum of Childhood is currently working on an exciting three year project to catalogue, conserve and digitise the archives of four major 20th century British toy manufacturers – including Lines Bros. Ltd., Mettoy, Palitoy and Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Ltd. – as well as other examples of toy manufacturing archive material acquired by the Museum over the years.
A wide range of original archive material is held by the Museum – including photographs, letters, catalogues, designs, essays, leaflets and books – providing a fascinating insight into numerous areas of interest, including industrial and social history, design, education and war.
Get in touch
As part of the project, we’d love to hear from anyone connected to the British toy manufacturing industry past or present. You or a relative may have worked on a production line, or in toy design, packaging or delivery. You may have memories of a favourite toy shop or a visit to a toy factory. Whatever your involvement – big or small – please get in touch!
3 years, 4 archives, countless stories. Read more about Archivist Ieuan Hopkins’ fascinating discoveries.
We really want to hear those stories! As part of the British Toy Making project, we’d love to hear from anyone connected with the British toy manufacturing industry past or present. If you or a relative worked in this industry, for example, on a production line, in toy design, packaging, delivery or senior management, you can submit your own toy story here.
British and international toy manufacturers from Britains to J. W. Spear & Sons, BRIO to Margarete Steiff.
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