Thursday, 18 April 2013

These caught my eye, & I’ll tell you why: the Jollyboy Sailor dolls

Or, an introduction to some some enduringly happy faces.

These little fellows sit happily in a row as a decorative item in Sylvie’s bedroom.  My mother gave me two when I was small, the others I have purchased as an adult from eBay over some time.  I confess I can’t now remember which ones were Mum’s and which were the newcomers.  I played with Mum’s two as a child; they always had a place at the table in my doll’s house.  They have the most delightful little faces, the definition of cheery.  They are for the most part, showing their age, but they seem happy to still be around keeping us all company.

They were manufactured as souvenirs to be sold aboard ocean liners, in some of my examples you will be able to discern the name of the ship or the ocean liner company name on the ribbons of their caps.  I love that each face has been hand-painted making each doll an absolute individual.  They look like a group of giggly school boys lining up for assembly, you get the feeling one of them will be mischievous in the next moment...

I think they are quite iconic, and collectible.  They were known as the Jollyboy Sailors and from what I can gather were manufactured in Britain between 1929 until the factory was closed in 1959.  I’m in love with their merry countenance and they never fail to make me smile.

Happy days!
Lara Jane.

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