Collection Close Up: Madame Alexander Dionne Quint (no hair)

Earlier this year, I purchased a 1930’s Dionne Quintuplet on eBay. (My second of the year– see the first here.) Made from 1935-1939, the Dionne Quintuplet dolls were big business for Madame Alexander and other doll brands of the time. For me, I’ve always loved their adorable hand painted faces. This particular auction listing tugged at my heartstrings. The seller said that this beloved Dionne Quintuplet was a prized possession of her elderly friend. Because she had no one to pass this Quint on to, she had decided to sell it to help with medical bills and the like.  The Quint had clearly been loved by this lady and I’m a sucker for a good story, especially when they throw in that they have no one to pass such a treasured item on to within the family.

I didn’t ask many questions about the quality of this quint, because the price was low enough that I could get her restored. On arrival, I noticed that she was definitely in need of a few more repairs than I thought. She was completely unstrung and needed some of her composition repaired around her hip and on her foot. She needed to have some work done around her eyes, too, because some of her paint had rubbed off. (That, of course, I knew from photos.) Here’s a shot of her taken after she arrived to my house. Notice she’s missing eye brows and eye lashes.

1930's Dionne Quint

So, in search of a doll doctor I went. Dr. Noreen had been on my radar because of the work she’d done in the past restoring dolls under the Tonner umbrella. She recently left Tonner’s doll hospital and is now working out of her own storefront. (See her in action during her Tonner days in the video below!)

Dr. Noreen was amazing. She restored my Quint in record time and kept me in the loop on the restoration through e-mail and facebook updates. Not only that, her price for the work was much better than I anticipated. At no time during the process did I ever feel worried about my doll, which says a lot! More on where you can find Dr. Noreen below. But first, are you ready to see the newly restored Dionne Quintuplet?  Here she is!

Madame Alexander Dionne Quints

She was restored beautifully! Look at this darling little face. Both Dionne’s in this post are composition. Prior to collecting hard plastic dolls, I had assumed composition dolls were super fragile. After handling a few, though, I’m amazed at how solid they are! Think about it– these two dolls have survived 80 years with only minimal damage. Think of everything that’s happened between now and 1930. This doll has literally seen it all. That’s one of the reasons I love this kind of doll. They carry so much history with them. (If only they could tell us all about it!)

Madame Alexander Dionne Quints

Here she is with her sister, a Dionne with real hair. (And when I say real, I mean it. This doll is usually listed as having a human hair wig!) While the doll with painted hair is meant to sit, the real hair version has legs that welcome standing. Adding these two dolls to my collection means I have successfully acquired another item on my grail list!

Madame Alexander Dionne Quints

Because I was so impressed with her passion and professionalism, I asked Dr. Noreen if she’d do a spotlight here on the blog and she agreed. Below is a quick Q and A I did with her over email. If you’re looking for a doll restoration artist in the US with talent and experience, visit her website! She did an amazing job on my Quint and is highly recommended!

Question: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you become interested in doll restoration.
Answer: I owned my own doll shop and doll hospital years ago and found that all my enjoyment came from the repair and restoration side of the business. Since I was very young, I always loved to rescue dolls (dogs and cats, too)!

Dr. Norren's Photo-- My Doll's Before Shot. Notice her leg damage.

Dr. Norren’s Photo– My Doll’s Before Shot. Notice her leg damage.

Question: How long have you been restoring dolls?
Answer: I have been restoring dolls for about 30 years.

Question: What kinds of dolls do you restore?
Answer: Antique bisque to vintage and modern. I do not work on Barbies or the smaller fashion dolls at all. Sadly, I also do not sew–so cloth dolls are not something I am comfortable with restoring. My favorite are probably the 50’s hard plastics.

Dr. Noreen's Photo. Operation fix Dionne's foot and hip is on!

Dr. Noreen’s Photo– Operation fix Dionne’s foot and hip is on!

Question: What is your favorite part of the process?
Answer: The before and after shots–I love! But the part I find rewarding is the look on the customers face when they see their beloved doll back the way they remember it!

Question: If someone sends a doll to your hospital, what should they expect?
Answer: When a doll arrives, I spend about 20 minutes checking her completely and take many photos of exactly how she arrived. Then, I usually start within a week or two, depending on how many [dolls] are waiting for the dolly O.R. Generally, they are finished within a few weeks. I show the dolls restoration process by photographing and posting [on facebook].

Dr. Noreen's Photo-- You can hardly tell there was a comp issue!

Dr. Noreen’s Photo– You can hardly tell there was a comp issue!

Question: Do you collect dolls? If so, what kinds?
Answer: Yes! I do have a bit of an eclectic collection ranging from late 1800 China Heads to modern ball jointed dolls. Of course, after working for 14 years as the doll doc for Tonner Doll, I have quite a few of those, too.

Dr. Noreen's Photo-- Her 'after' photo!

Dr. Noreen’s Photo– Her ‘after’ photo!

Question: Where can they find out more information about your services?
Answer: On Facebook and my website, Dr. Noreen’s Doll Hospital.

Madame Alexander Dionne Quints

I encourage you to check out Dr. Noreen’s site and facebook page for more information on her services. She did an excellent job on this 1930’s Quint and has become my go-to doll doctor for whatever dolls come my way in the future that are in need of a little TLC.

Have you picked up a grail item recently? Do you own a Dionne Quintuplet? Have you ever worked with Dr. Noreen? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

Advertisements

March 16, 2016. Tags: . Uncategorized.

7 Comments

  1. Teresa B. replied:

    The restoration is beautiful! I’m a sucker for a good story too. I love dolls with a rich history 🙂 Awesome find for that little cutie!

  2. Tina dipietro replied:

    I see why the older dolls are so loved they have a face that has been part of history. Love your two

  3. Lydia D'moch replied:

    Fascinating. I too have a Dionne Quint—same as yours—that’s in need of repair as the rubber bands holding the limbs in place have disintegrated. So glad to learn of your experience with Dr. Noreen.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Yes. I highly recommend Dr. Noreen. She takes so much care in what she does. 🙂

  4. Dr. Noreen Works Her Magic Again! | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] scenes looks at her patient’s time at the hospital! And in case you missed it, check out the ‘Spotlight’ I did on her here on the […]

  5. Collection Close Up: Madame Alexander Dionne Quintuplets New Looks | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] diaper. It’s been on my t0-do list to give them a new look, since they’ve already been touched up by the fantastic doll doctor, Dr. Noreen. Finally, I’ve done it. Commissioned from […]

  6. Collection Close Up: Madame Alexander Dionne Quint- Restored! | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] At a doll show recently, I picked up a fixer upper composition Dionne quintuplets doll made by Madame Alexander in the mid to late 1930’s. She was in dire need of a little (well, a lot of) TLC from my favorite doll doctor, Dr. Noreen. Dr. Noreen has restored a few other dolls for us, including an antique bisque doll and a smaller Dionne baby. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: