Meet timothy - a nini studio boy doll extraordinaire

Dear Diary,

Jesse:  I used to collect vintage dolls, composition from the 1930-1940s and hard plastic from the 1940-1950s.  My collection had a large number of all-original, mint-in-box dolls as well as singles.  I was always in awe of the fine work of makers such as F&B, R&B, Madame Alexander, Toni, Revlon, Terry Lee, Dollikin and etc.  There is nothing like their dolls today, until Nini, that is.

Anyone fancy a peek inside?

Whenever I would come across an all-original doll in its box, I wondered what it would be like to be a child of those times and to receive such a doll as a gift.  What would have been the child's excitement to see the label on the box and know that a special doll was inside?  How thrilling it must have been to open the box and to behold the perfect doll!  The closest I ever came to this emotion was today when I opened the packing box with my Nini Doll box inside.

Total attention to detail.  Does anyone remember a time before bar codes when the old doll boxes had the contents and inventory information handwritten on the  outside of the box end? 

Just like at Christmas or on a birthday, I opened the inner display box. My first look at Timothy made me give out an "oooo"; I was taken by how attractive he is. I knew approximately what he would look like from  the internet photos Jonny posted during the process of making him.  But, like pictures in the old toy catalogs, seeing the doll in person was quite something else. He was everything I was expecting and yet he was much more.


Jonny made the original sketch into a card and included it with the doll.  Note how he tore the edges and made slits in the paper to hold the drawing.  Always he pays attention to detail.

Unstrapped, unboxed and taking his place in New Zealand.


Timothy stands 50 cm tall.
The body has a nice warm feel to it and it pleasant to the touch.  He is supple but not floppy but he cannot stand unaided. The joints move well and he can sit appropriately. The body is substantial with a heft to it.  I like the neutral skin tone.   


The clothing has a home-made feel about it.  By that, I don't mean that they are crudely made - far from it!  They have the feel of being made by a seamster or seamstress who has mastered his/her skills over the years spent  making clothing for the family. Timothy comes from a time when people didn't have many items of clothing but what they did have was of quality fabrics and well-made.  Through quality construction, the up-cycling of old fabrics and buttons, the mixture of the old with the new, hand sewing and knitting, Jonny has outfitted Timothy in a time-honoured and prudent tradition. I appreciate that the jumper has an opening down the back so it can be removed by pulling it down the legs rather than over the head and pulling on the wig.

Leather shoes and hand-knitted sock with cables.

A Nini label in the shirt.  If I have one recommendation to Jonny, it would be to put a label into every piece of clothing possible.

The shirt has buttons with button holes, not velcro!

The coat lining is stitched by hand.  The hand knitted mittens were one of my few requests along with the cap.

Cute 2-colour mittens with the thumb.  Another of my minor requests.

Flaps up in warmer weather.  The entire inside of the hat is lined.  The flap ties were another of my tiny suggestions which Johnny liked.

Flaps down when it's cold outside.

See the attention to detail: pockets, waistband and button with fly opening.

Gorgeous hand knitting!

The shoes are stylish and show beautifully.


I didn't want, in Auntie Mame's words, "An Aryan from Darien".

His hair is a bit mussed because I had just removed the hat and didn't pay attention to the mussed hair.

Timothy looks like a boy and not a girl with a short haircut. His hair can be put into different styles, something I discovered when taking off the cap.  I did not want a blue-eyed blonde and obviously, such features were not part of Jonny's vision for Timothy either.  The face has a modern look but it is not garish nor does it look mass-produced.  I think he has the appearance of a young lad.


The jury is out and no decision has been reached.  Timothy could be either or both.  It's my opinion that only a naked doll can be properly assessed.  He is easy to handle and the right size for play.  As anyone who has actually played with cloth dolls knows, dressing and undressing them can be challenging because of the rub of fabric on fabric. At the same time, he is lovely to look at and could easily grace a display cabinet. Timothy is a treasure and will live with me for a long time to come.


The first time I saw the sketch of "Chilly Day", the name Timothy immediately came to mind.  It stayed with me through the process, even though I didn't give much weight to it. When I first saw this boy in real life, I knew my initial impulse to call him Timothy was indeed correct.


All my life I have surrounded myself with beautiful things.  I prefer fine things, preferably hand-crafted and usually antiques, but not always.  This applies to the majority of things which live with me; better a few high quality items than lots of low-end junk.  Dolls are not an exception to this rule and Timothy fits the requirement of quality, artistry and beauty and doesn't disappointment one bit in any category.

First and foremost, Jonny is an artist and these dolls are works of art.  At the beginning, Jonny asked me for any personal preferences and I had only a few, inconsequential ones.  My main objective was to allow Jonny to court the muse without any interference from me.  This wasn't some custom order from a factory in which I could select certain allowed options on a standard doll.  This was about creating the personality of the doll by creating the custom features.  What Jonny brought to reality in Timothy was done purely and simply through the magic of art.  This doll is a one-of-a-kind, made just for me and so he is very special.  In the process, I have had the pleasure to get to know Jonny a bit better and that has only added to the enjoyment of this adventure.

"The perfect chair!"


I was reading a book with Timothy sitting next to me; we were getting to know one another.  I looked down at his face and suddenly I saw shades of Sasha Studio doll in him.  I don't mean that he is a copy or an imitation of Sasha Morgenthaler's dolls but only that I detected an inspired similarity to her work.  In my opinion, Jonny shares Sasha's dedication to art, quality, toy appeal, workmanship, as well as a disdain for mass-produced dolls.  Look at Timothy's face and see if you can see what I saw.  In the end, only Jonny can speak with any authority on this subject.


It's pretty posh to have a doll specially made for me and it's something I never expected to ever happen.  I'd best be careful not to have airs above my station!

Thank you, Jonny!

Disclaimer:  I shouldn't be allowed to operate a camera - my photos never do justice to the colour and appearance of what I'm photographing. I failed to capture Timothy's lovely colouring and I won't try to blame it on the lighting and etc. To get the best idea of the colours of the doll and the clothing,take a look at Jonny's social media pages in addition to for excellent photographs of Timothy.


  1. Congratulations on the arrival of Timothy Jesse. He is all I would expect from one of Jonathan's creations and is indeed very special. I too feel very privileged to own not one but two Nini dolls, a girl and a boy - who met all my requirements - in memory of my grandmother's brothers who were 'boy sailors' and of course my son has followed in their footsteps.

    As you say his attention to detail is second to none, with lots of care and thought put into the materials used.

    Thank you for sharing your new boy with us.

  2. Oh Jesse, he's absolutely exquisite! Such a handsome and sweet face. The attention to detail is superb. I can well understand why it was love at first sight. Congratulations!

  3. He is superb! You must be over the moon to have been able to adopt him!

  4. I have watched Jonny make Timothy knowing where he would go to live but still that part of me that admires such craftsmanship wanted his destination to be up the road to the village ! I'm sure Jonny won't mind me saying that he is honing his doll making craft with each doll.

    As I watched Timothy come to life over the weeks his character started to appear. When he got his wig and eyes,he reminded me so much of my ex son in law, a lovely young man.

    I think that Jonny's dolls have such life in them,they cross that slim ledge that makes them appear more real than doll like.
    And I agree with you about having the look of a Sasha Studio doll,it's because each one is unique in its execution and Jonnys are the 21st century creation of a unique doll as were Sasha M's in her time.

    Jonnys attention to detail and the love he puts into each of his dolls shines through.

    So congratulations on adding one of these wonderful dolls to your collection, I'm sure you will have many years of joy at being his Dad.

  5. What a gorgeous doll. I admit I have never heard of Nini dolls, but then there are so many different types of dolls that I have discovered since starting my own Sasha doll blog. It's such an interesting journey discovering all these wonderful things and being able to share them. When I got my Sasha doll a year and half ago it was it was a dream come true ( even though I had long since put any such hope aside ) Thanks to these wonderful doll blogs that doll owners so kindly share, I can now appreciate my Sasha doll and am learning to 'play' with her and bring her to life. Thank you for sharing you wonderful story of Timothy and I hope you both have many happy years together :) x

  6. Beautiful....esp. love the hand made unusual these days and that homemade looks adds great charm!

  7. Thanks so much for posting so many pictures of Timothy and his clothes. I love seeing well-made things and a boy doll that actually looks like a boy. I have been searching for an 18" vinyl doll that does not look like a girl with shot hair, and it's not an easy thing to find.

  8. He's so special... I'd find it hard to decide whether to play with him or place him in a cabinet, too. But I'd probably have him take part in my life, since dolls are made for play and won't feel loved in a cabinet.
    Love his clothes. The shoes are adorable!

  9. Dear Jesse,
    I think perhaps that whilst I was away in France my comment on this blog failed to process! I've just commented on your latest beautiful knits and noticed that I had to re-sign in to my account in order to post it for approval.
    I'd like to say 'thank you' here publicly for the experience of creating The boy who has become 'Timothy'. As you now know, unbeknownst to you at the time, this name has particularl significance to me and my family. We're all delighted that this boy has come to live with you and your boy doll tribe.
    Thank you for allowing me to follow my creative impulses. I learned from this experience that it is perhaps the only way I wish to make my handmade Nini, otherwise they will turn into something else, something that I wouldn't have such a connection to.
    Your kind words and detailed study of my work has given me some food for thought and was an interesting read. I hope he'll be with you for a long time to come.
    Very best wishes, Jonny
    (I hope this comment posts successfully!)


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