Found it at the Market – Frozen Charlotte

CharlottesThis weekend while at the trödelmarkt I ran across these lovely little porcelain dolls. I have seen them once before and found them very intriguing as a collection but didn’t think to buy one. This week I saw them again and could not pass them up. Being from New Orleans these tiny little dolls reminded me of the babies we bake into the Mardi Gras King Cakes. So bought one of these little treasures and rushed home to find outs what these little dolls were all about and why there were so many.

A bit of searching on the internet and I quickly found out that these little dolls were produced in various locations from 1850 to the early 1900s, though the most well-known is Germany. Particularly from the state of Thuringia, where collectors are digging the broken remains of these dolls from the grounds of old abandoned factories. They are referred to as “Frozen Charlotte” dolls.

Why Frozen Charlotte? These dolls were unjointed, and thus “frozen” in place. The name derives from a cautionary poem written by Seba Smith, and popularized as a ballad by William Lorenzo Carter. (You can read the full text of the original Frozen Charlotte poem here.)

Lot of 3 Larger Antique German Bisque Frozen Charlotte Doll Porcelain Dolls $14 Via Etsy

Lot of 3 Larger Antique German Bisque Frozen Charlotte Doll Porcelain Dolls $14 Via Etsy

As the story goes, on a piercingly cold, winter night, Charlotte’s beau, Charles, picked Charlotte up in his sleigh to attend a ball at the village inn, 15 miles away. Looking lovely, young Charlotte, dressed in her finery, vainly wanted to be seen and admired along the way. She did not listen to her mother’s good advice to cover herself with a blanket, refusing even to wear her wrap. By the time she and Charles arrived at the inn, Charlotte was a frozen corpse! The song goes on to say that Charlie soon died of a broken heart and they forever slumber together, in one tomb.

The dolls ranged in size from under an inch to 18 inches plus. The smallest dolls were sometimes used as charms in Christmas puddings or Birthday cakes, so my likening to a king cake baby wasn’t too far off.  So while these little dolls are new to me there is much information to be leaned about them. They are easily acquired on Etsy or Ebay or at the trödelmarkt if you happen to be in Germany. While most you will find are broken or damaged they still have a charm that is undeniable. Weather treasured as a collection or re-purposed as altered art these little treasures have been turning heads after 100 years. Have a look at a few great uses I found!

1.Flea Market Junkie Belt Buckle Frozen Charlotte, Lorelie Kay Designs on Etsy-$45.00

2.Frozen Charlotte Fairies D.I.Y. via Todolwen Old to New

3.Fun Frozen Charlotte Collection via A Whimsical Fleamarket

4.Perpetually Perky Frozen Charlotte Doll Rhinestone Necklace, Saints and Sinners Shop Etsy-$38.00



  1. J DeBroeck says:

    Got to have a handful of these lovelies. You know the parts are much more interesting than the whole. Grab me a handful the next time you go. JD

    • You know I thought of you! Need to work a deal for a whole box of them or go find a factory where I can dig some up;)

  2. Lorelie kay says:

    A lovely tribute to my favorite girl! Thank you for including my buckle 🙂

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