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Object: Pudding Doll - head and body glued together

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence

Title Pudding Doll - head and body glued together
Production Unknown, circa 1867
Materials porcelain
Classification dolls
Dimensions Approximate: 42mm (Height)
Credit line Gift of Beverley Randell Price, 2009
Registration number GH012255

Pudding dolls
This is a porcelain pudding doll. She has black hair and the delicately painted facial features of brown eyebrows, brown eyes, pink cheeks, and red lips. Both her arms are broken just below the shoulder, and her head has been glued back onto her body.

Pudding dolls were small porcelain dolls baked into Christmas puddings or put into Christmas crackers. They were meant to give luck to the finder. The tradition came to colonial New Zealand from Victorian England.

Randell family
This pudding doll is from is thought to have belonged to the children of the Randell family, who settled in Wellington in 1867. There were seven girls in the Randell household, which means there would probably have been plenty of dolls. Dolls were one of the toys popular with colonial girls in New Zealand.

Randell Cottage
This pudding doll is part of a collection of objects found underneath the Randell family cottage when it was renovated in the 1990s. The Randell Cottage is situated at 14 St Mary Street in the suburb of Thorndon in Wellington. It was built by William Randell in 1867 for his family, who moved into the four room cottage that year with seven children. By 1877 there were 10 children! William added two more rooms in 1874. He died in 1880 leaving his wife, Sarah, with five children aged 15 and under. Sarah and the family were supported by three of the elder children until she moved in with her daughter Emily in the suburb of Karori.

Acquisition of the Randell Cottage collection
In 1994, Beverley Randell, great granddaughter of William and Sarah, purchased the cottage with the help of her own family. They refurbished it, keeping much to the original floor plan and furnishings. New foundations had to be laid and, during the digging, many objects were unearthed. As there was no formal rubbish collection in the 1870s, many hard, sharp, and unwanted objects were tossed beneath the house. Others most likely found their way down through cracks in the floorboards. Beverley Randell donated the collection of finds to Te Papa in 2006. The objects provide a rare glimpse into the everyday lives of New Zealand's early European settler families.

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