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This item sold on February 29, 2008.

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Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen tale of Thumbelina, this tiny doll is nestled safely in a real walnut shell.

This doll was made about 1890 and was recently excavated from the ground at the site of a former doll factory in Germany. I have dressed her in a scrap of vintage fabric with a delicate seaweed design on it. She has a string of three little glass seed beads around her neck. I have lined one half of her walnut shell bed with purple antique velvet. The two halves of the shell are linked together with ribbon so that you can’t lose her lid. She fits neatly into the shell and measures just over an inch or as they say in the story ‘scarcely half as long as a thumb’(about 3cm in new money).

These little dolls were sold long ago for people to bake in their Christmas puddings as lucky charms. They would be kept and played with by the children of the family. Occasionally they turn up in old estate sales in a little walnut. I don’t know how long people have been making these little toys for but cultures around the world have tales going back hundreds of years which are similar to the Thumbelina story and they have an enduring appeal. I have a handful of these old miniature dolls which I am dressing in old materials and fixing up walnut beds for.

Contact me with any questions - I am happy to talk and give extra details about my work.

This toy contains small parts so is not suitable for children.

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Thumbelina in a walnut shell


  • Material: bisque china glazed porcelain vintage cotton ribbon glass seed beads thread antique velvet calico walnut
  • Ships worldwide from United Kingdom
  • Feedback: 31 reviews
  • Favorited by: 8 people