Now often seen as a controversial item, the golliwogg, golliwog or golly was a popular black rag doll-like character which featured in many children's books during the late 19th century.
Originally created in 1895 by a 22-year-old, Florence Kate Upton, the golliwog character quickly spread to become a commonly reproduced item by both toy companies and by people who made toys as a hobby, and were also much loved figures which featured on products such as Robertson's jam. The company would often give away golly badges and small collectable figurines.
Golliwogs usually come in a variety of different sizes and normally wear bright and colourful costumes. Their hair is often in a thick afro style and either made out of wool or fur. Usually they have happy, smiling faces with wide white-rimmed eyes and large red lips; the male golliwogs wear bow ties, jackets, trousers and buttons, while the females are often in bright sundresses. The female golliwog is a more rare item, as most golliwogs made were male, and they were usually depicted as jovial, jolly and friendly. There was the occasional sinister and menacing golliwog, but these were an exception.
Popular throughout Europe and Australia right into the 1970s, the doll was looked upon as a suitable toy for children, especially young boys. Now a subject of heated debate, golliwogs are less commonly available, however, they are still a piece of history that you can own in various different forms, from soft toys, to solid figures and collectables. Even golliwog books and cards are still available to purchase today.