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Wood And Porcelain Dolls by Lynne and Michael Roche at The Toy Shoppe

Handcrafted Wood And Porcelain Dolls By British Artists Lynne & Michael Roche

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Lillian In Venice


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Hannah No. 92


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Baby Amy III


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Johnny in Car Shirt


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Handmade Wood And Porcelain Dolls By Lynne & Michael Roche

English doll artists Lynne and Michael RocheA Classic Doll
In Every Sense Of The Word

The Toy Shoppe has offered collectors the exquisite dolls by Lynne and Michael Roche for over 25 years. Their dolls possess the charm of classics like Bru and Jumeau yet are accented with the beautiful artisty of Lynne's fashion, fabrics and painting as well as Michael's masterful wood work. A Roche doll is truly tomorrow's classic today!

The following article is reprinted with permission from DOLLS Magazine June 2012 issue

A Perfect Union: Doll Artists Lynne & Michael Roche

By Barrie and Danny Shapiro

As people who love fine artist dolls, we admire artists who invest themselves totally in their craft. Rather than creating a mold for mass production or buying off-the-shelf parts, they design and create every joint, every hair, every curve and every thread for each one of their dolls. This is a labor of love that results in the closest realization of the artist's vision. Lynne and Michael Roche are English artists who bring that kind of love to their dollmaking. Their story is three decades long and is as remarkable as their creations.

At first glance, the path that led the Roches to create dolls might appear random. But looking back, it had its foundation in the finest of the antique-doll world. Lynne Roche earned a degree in fine arts, with an interest in painting. She took jobs with Covent Garden, as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She met Michael Roche when he worked refinishing antique furniture. This demanding craft required delicate handwork and a feel for the wood.

After they married in 1978, Lynne began to deal in textiles and clothing. It was here that Lynne was introduced to antique dolls and made her first attempt to reproduce one - a 19th-century French doll by E.J. Jumeau. Even at the beginning, Lynne set high standards for her work. Creating reproductions was akin to studying under master dollmakers, giving her insight into their work that would influence her own original dolls.

When Lynne and Michael moved to Bath, they opened a doll shop called The China Doll to sell their reproductions of antique French and German bébés. They installed their own kiln for firing porcelain. Without conscious intent, they had put all the pieces in place to create their own original dolls. Lynne brought her painting skills, artistic vision, and experience with textiles. Michael, ever a perfectionist, brought his woodworking skills and natural problem-solving abilities. The facilities and their diverse experiences created a perfect union for dollmaking, and their creations have been prized by collectors since 1981.

Most Roche dolls combine a lime wood body with porcelain head and hands. Lime wood is an ideal choice, as it is evenly colored, has a subtle grain, and is well-suited for delicate carving and finishing. Michael creates each body by hand in his home workshop. He has refined his body designs throughout the years, developing several styles to depict different ages. One thing has remained constant — a Roche doll is beautiful, even undressed!

Lynne sculpts the porcelain faces and delicately tints them with a fair English complexion. She artfully paints the simple details of each face, including, in many cases, the eyes. When Lynne uses glass eyes, she chooses fine hand-blown glass eyes that are truly captivating. Lynne also designs the hairstyle for each doll, and the wigs are custom-made.

The Roches both believe that dolls should invite you to play with them. Jointing is crucial to achieving this, and one of Michael's earliest challenges was to develop his own ball-jointing system. Roche dolls stand on their own and are easy to pose, dress and undress. You can play with every Roche doll!

With her background in fine textiles, Lynne's original clothing is a signature characteristic of every Roche doll. The styles are timeless and rich in texture, color and detail. Lynne designs the outfits along with her dolls, not afterward, and the clothing enhances each one's personality and story. Lynne often hand-dyes the materials to achieve the perfect hues.

As members of several guilds and associations, Lynne and Michael Roche value the artistry of others. To develop their accessories, they often work with specialty artists, including master woodworker Tim Rossiter, who creates their unique furniture and wood toys, and Stella Topping, whose teddy bears and other animal toys add another level of charm to their dolls. Even the accessories are high quality and unique to each Roche doll.

Lynne has loved dolls since childhood and remains an avid collector; that love is reflected in her work. With their history rooted in the fine design and quality materials found in the antique doll world, Lynne and Michael Roche's creations are distinct, with an air of childhood about them that invites you to play with them. A Roche doll is a classic doll in every sense of the word.

Introducing The New 2014 Dolls By Lynne & Michael Roche

Our two new wood bodied dolls for 2014 are both new sizes. Daisy is 12" so just a little taller than some of the small wood bodied dolls of previous years. Robyn is 14" and is her older sister and a similar size to Heidi and Lizzie from the 1990's. They are each available in two editions of 20 pieces. Winter and Spring. The winter editions can have a wonderful little village shop front accessory which is an edition of 20 pieces.

Also we offer a new soft bodied doll, Pippa,12" a slightly older girl than Bessie and Gertie. She is available in two editions of 20 pieces.

We hope you like our new collection for 2014.

Lynne & Michael Roche
excerpt from their 2014 introduction catalog

The 2013 Doll Collection By English Doll Artists Lynne & Michael Roche

Master dollmakers Lynne and Michael Roche continue their tradition of classic porcelain and wood dolls with the new editions for 2013. This year they introduce Cicely and Harriet, adorable sisters outfitted for either summer fun or autumn play. As Cicely is the older sister, she stands 20 inches tall. Younger sister Harriet stands a little shorter at only 18 inches tall.

Lynne has always had a talented eye for pulling together wonderful fabrics and colors together for the outfits she creates for her fine wood and porcelain dolls. The coordinating summer outfits for Cicely and Harriet are bright and cheerful with the artist having hand-painted each of their skirts and pinafore dresses. Lynne combines several rich textures with a soft palette of colors in the autumn outfits for the sisters.

For 2013, Lynne and Michael Roche have introduced a new soft-bodied doll named Bessie who is the sister to Bonnie Baby from previous Roche collections. There is a new edition of Bonnie Blue as well as several editions of Bessie. Each edition has a unique outfit, hair color, eye color or accessory.

Excerpts from a 2013 introductory letter from Lynne & Michael Roche

For 2013 we introduce sisters Cicely and Harriet. They both have porcelain heads and hands on articulated hand carved lime-wood bodies and are available in a choice of two 20 piece editions each.

Also this year we introduce a new soft bodied doll, Bessie, sister to Bonnie Baby. She is available in two 20 piece editions.

We hope you enjoy our collection for 2013.

Lynne & Michael

The 2012 Collection By Lynne & Michael Roche

The 2012 collection by Lynne & Michael Roche brings several new dolls and wonderful babies. Emilia is a 20 inch tall doll sculpted to be an older child. She has a fully jointed, hand carved limewood body with porcelain head and hands. Emilia is the same size and Lillian, one of Lynne & Michael Roche's popular dolls from the 1990s. There are three editions of Emilia: Emilia and Toby, The Favorite Bear, Emilia in Winter, and Emilia in Lilac.

Gertie is new 11 inch toddler doll that is available in two editions: Gertie in Pink and Gertie in Floral. They both have firmly stuffed cloth bodies with porcelain head and hands. Gertie is the perfect size to play with Bonnie Baby in Lacy Knit or Bonnie Baby Winter, also new for 2012. These dolls have cloth bodies with heads and hands made from fine porcelain.