Maia’s little Rosebud doll, 1950s

Maia grew up in SE London in the 50s. Her parents both hailed from Co Wexford. She was given the beautiful little Rosebud doll by her neighbour and always treasured it.

A 7 inch doll, she opens and closes her eyes, has a fully jointed body, soft brown hair, painted shoes, and is dressed in a cotton sundress, with knitted wool underwear.

Miss Rosebud. Made in England.

The British company who manufactured Rosebud dolls since the 1950s, Nene Plastics Ltd., was run by Eric Smith who took over the company in 1934 from his father. When Nene Plastics started to produce composition dolls in 1947, the trademark “Rosebud” was registered by Smith. Initially, the company started making dolls out of composition. All the Rosebud dolls had the word, “Rosebud” embossed on the backside of their neck to recognise the authenticity of the dolls.

When the company started making vinyl dolls, it added a rose symbol along with the Rosebud name from 1960 to create a specific identity. In 1967, Nene Plastics was taken over by the American company Mattel. These Rosebud dolls had the markings “Rosebud, Mattel” on them. However, the company started trading independently again under the name Blossom Toys from 1974.

Rosebud dolls were made in various sizes and colours and are always wearing fabulous dresses. The dolls tend to have nice lustrous hair too. Even baby dolls were available.

The size varies from anywhere between 6 inches to 14 inches or more. The process of manufacturing involve a lot of attention to detail in design and selection of high quality materials.

Vintage Rosebud dolls are popular among collectors as they are an example of excellent craftsmanship.

Documentary made in 1968 in the Rosebud factory

Doll donated to the Museum of Childhood Ireland 2023