Many dolls dressed in Welsh costume were made during the 19th century (the earliest might be as early as 1809), and many more were made during the 20th century mostly as souvenirs for sale to tourists, but others were made as presents for children and distinguished visitors; as Eisteddfod competition entries; as display items at exhibitions and for use in advertising and marketing.
It is likely that the bodies were purchased, some from Germany where doll bodies were made from the 18th century. Many of the surviving doll’s hats appear to have been made professionally but the costumes are mostly of local fabrics and may have been made by individuals, although there are several similar red cloaks with black feather stitching which might have been mass-produced.
At least 100 19th dolls in Welsh costume are known, 38 of which are in public collections, the remainder are in private collections.
The Welsh costume dolls project was a study of 38 19th century dolls, dressed in Welsh costume. It was undertaken in 2011-2102 to analyse the fabrics (possibly the oldest surviving Welsh fabrics), and the styles of dress on the dolls. The details of this study are on this site and more images will be uploaded onto the People’s Collection Wales web site.