Skip to content

Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Dr. Dollworth gets an x-ray

by Conservation


x-ray , behind the scenes , conservation , Dollyver

Last week, Conservation was lucky enough to have an on-site demonstration of digital x-ray by Cory Morriss from GE and Scott Hunley of RCON NDT.  Our textile conservator chose these two fabric dolls from our collection for imaging.  She wanted a peep at their wire armatures.  They’re members of the “Dollyver family,” a set of nearly 30 dolls made by Laura Turpin in the early 1900s.  On the left, you can see “Dr. Dollworth” and “Mrs. Gadollphin” prepared for imaging, secured to a board with cotton ties. 

On the right, their x-ray.  The low-power x-rays show all sorts of layers of detail, including the dolls’ “bones” of wire and stuffing.  The x-ray shows more than one kind of wire, one presumably used to form the main body, and a thinner wire for the finer details.  The x-ray also caught Dr. Dollworth’s spectacles, the metal braid trim around Mrs. Gadollphin’s handbag and her knitting inside it.