Your Child’s Portrait in a Doll (Jan, 1938)

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Your Child’s Portrait in a Doll

PORTRAIT DOLLS, modeled after children or adults by Dewees Cochran, New York painter and sculptress, reproduce all the details of features, hair, and complexion found in the original. Supplementing conventional sculptor’s tools with dental instruments for fine work, Miss Cochran models the amazingly lifelike figures from real life, or from written descriptions and photographs, one full face and one profile. The doll head is first shaped in a claylike material. From this a plaster mold is made in which the head is cast in a virtually unbreakable substance that simulates actual skin texture.

Hair closely matching the original is used to fashion a realistic wig, and the face is tinted to the correct flesh tones. Bodies are fashioned from another unbreakable composition material, while the hands are made of hard rubber. A skilled seamstress turns out diminutive clothes that are perfect miniature reproductions of the costumes worn by the actual model. The portrait dolls, which require about five weeks to complete, are made in proportion to the size of the child or adult, running from fourteen to twenty-four inches in height. When a photograph of the child is compared with a similarly lighted photograph of the portrait doll, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two.

  1. jayessell says: April 14, 20079:38 am

    It would be interesting to read the ‘Letters to the Editor’ a few months later and see if the average reader of 70 years ago also found this creepy.

    Did the artist take requests for adult film actresses of the day?

  2. Stannous says: April 14, 20072:23 pm

    Stepford Kids!

  3. Megumi says: November 30, 20073:46 pm

    ……I think they’re cute. ^^;

  4. docca says: December 24, 20071:55 pm

    Actually there are a few companies today that specialize in doing just that. Check out http://www.reborn-baby…. and be scared yourself.

  5. Jeff says: January 17, 20083:37 pm


  6. Ronda says: January 11, 20093:25 pm

    I am searching for a name of a doll maker who was an african american man in the 1800’s who made dolls for wealthy white people who comissioned him to carve the image of their child in wood or ivory? Does anyone know this maker?

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