Doll Detective Mailbag: Rexard of Essex Dolls


Reader Kate wrote to us recently about a post I’d written about some of my costume dolls. She has a similar one and wanted to know more about them. The ones in the photos below are my dolls. They are hard plastic dolls about 19cm  or (7 1/2″) tall. They are dressed in National costumes or as historic figures. In Australia these dolls were sold under the name of Faun by a company called Nu Fabrics of Melbourne.

When Kate sent me the photos of her doll I decided to try to learn a bit more about where they came from.

This is Kate’s doll, she is dressed as a Welsh lady and her tag shows that she was issued by Nu Fabrics of Melbourne.

Some of the dolls I found online had different tags. an octagonal tag saying “Collectors Costume Dolls” by Rexard and a square one saying “A Rexard Creation, Rexard Exports Ltd, Brighton, Sussex , England, Designed by Odette Arden , Made in the British Empire.

Made in the British Empire at that time often meant made in Hong Kong. It could be that Nu Fabrics in Australia merely imported the dolls to sell under licence from Rexard.

A website I found about the similar sized Peggy Nisbet costume dolls makes mention of the Rexard dolls saying that they were aimed at younger collectors and sold at more affordable prices often at newsagents and corner shops. You can read the article here. Although they are not of the same quality as the Peggy Nisbet dolls they are still relatively easy to find and cheap to buy today. Although most of the examples of these dolls I found were described as 1970s I’d say they were made in the earlier part of that decade and possibly a little earlier. The principle designer for Rexard seems to have been Odette Arden. The factory was based at Worthing in Sussex, not really sure if they were based in Essex prior to that.

Quite a lot of other companies were making costume dolls of this type in the sixties and seventies and I will try to show some examples of the others in a later post.

Mary , Queen of Scots by Rexard
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5 comments

  1. I found a Welsh doll similar to these at the op shop last week, the costume is quite different though. No tags or identification on it though. And I can’t seem to attach a photo here anywhere.

    Like

    • If there is a way for commenters to attach photos I haven’t found it yet. I usually get people to email me their photos and post them myself. I wish we could have photos in comment threads but I guess we’d have to be really careful about spammers then.

      Like

  2. I had the wives of Henry the Eighth set back in the late 60s early 70s , they funnily enough were bought along the south Coast of England and we could never get them anywhere else and ive never seen them since and i see a lot of dolls ..lol

    Liked by 1 person

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