I sold this gorgeous brown-eyed china doll a little over a year ago. She had the finest facial painting and the much-coveted “pink tint” to her china. She was most likely made by the German firm of Kestner about 1850 and has the “covered wagon” hairstyle that was popular at the time.
China dolls with brown eyes are very rare as most had blue eyes. The following paragraph, taken from sawdustladies.com, explains eye color in early china dolls.
In last quarter of the 1900’s, a large demand existed for the china dolls. China heads were mass produced as porcelain prices were low & could be made inexpensively. Doll heads in simple hairstyles and were more assessable to the general public. The brown eyed china of that era were sometimes called “shop dolls” as every 100th doll on the production line was painted with brown eyes. Brown eyes , however, were a characteristic of the much earlier Greiner type china dolls and earlier manufacturers. Most china dolls came with blue eyes so the brown eyed china was rare.
Besides her brown eyes, I also find the provenance written on the doll’s back interesting. Both Josephine L Wood and Mabel Newell Ripley acted as “mommies” to this beauty. I’m guessing that the women are related and the doll was passed down through the family. Perhaps Mabel was Josephine’s great-grandaughter. I did some geneology research on Josephine L Wood online and came up with a possible match who traveled across the country with her family in the mid-1800s. Perhaps this doll was a true “covered wagon doll” and came with her on the long and arduous journey, providing Josephine with some comfort and cheer.