Most early wooden dolls were made in England from 1680 until the early 1800s. They are often called Queen Anne dolls, although most were made before and after her reign. Although far more female wooden dolls were produced, some male dolls were made, the only difference between the two being their dress and hair.

Many wooden dolls were originally created by parents in traditional folk art style, but the most elaborate examples were made by professional craftsmen.

Early wooden dolls are more ornate and detail-oriented than those made in later years. Until the early-to-mid-18th century, wooden dolls featured individual facial expressions, glass eyes, and distinct fingers and toes (sometimes even showing nails). The entire doll was made of wood, minus the upper arms, which were usually linen, and they were dressed in period-appropriate attire.

However, after the mid-18th century, the quality of the craftsmanship began to steadily deteriorate. Less attention was paid to detail and the individuality of each doll. Other than the quality, another major change was that the entire doll began to be made of wood—upper arms and all.

Stump dolls were first made during the 19th century, primarily in England and Germany. Created from a single block, these dolls lack legs (and, for the most part, arms, too) and are usually brightly painted.

Another type of wooden doll is the Dutch peg wooden, first produced in the late 18th century. Made of carved wood, the joins are hinged with pegs, giving the dolls their name.

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