Dewees Cochran, a painter and sculptress from New York, made portrait dolls that reproduced the same features, hair, and complexion as the original forms. Miss Cochran made amazingly lifelike figures from real life or written descriptions and photographs using conventional sculptor’s tools and dental instruments for detailed work. She created a full face and a profile. The doll head is first sculpted in a clay-like material. The head is cast in an indestructible substance that simulates natural skin texture using a plaster mold.
It takes a skilled seamstress to create miniature replicas of the clothes worn by the actual model. The wig was fashioned from hair closely matching the original, and the skin tone is tinted to match the original. Hands are made of durable rubber, while bodies are made of another unbreakable composition material.
In proportion to the size of the child or adult, the portrait dolls take about five weeks to complete and range from fourteen to twenty-four inches tall. Comparison of a photograph of the child with a similarly lit photo of the portrait doll is almost impossible.