The first Golliwogg was created by Florence Kate Upton, an American born of English parents. When Upton moved to England at age 14, she spent several years drawing and developing her artistic skills. In order to afford tuition to art school, she illustrated a children's book entitled The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls. The 1895 book included a character named the "golliwogg", who was described as "a horrid sight, the blackest gnome". The character had black skin, red lips, red pants and a red bow-tie.
The book and its many sequels were extremely successful in England, largely because of the popularity of the Golliwogg. The doll became a popular children's toy well into the 20th century, and was incorporated into many aspects of British commerce and culture; for instance, some of Enid Blyton's books feature them. Although Upton's Golliwogg was jovial and friendly, later Golliwoggs would be portrayed as sinister, and even menacing characters.
The British jam manufacturer James Robertson & Sons used a golliwog called Golly as its mascot from 1910 after John Robertson apparently saw children playing with golliwog dolls in America. In 1983 the company's products were boycotted by the Greater London Council and in 1988 the character ceased to be used in television advertising. It was dropped altogether in 2001, and replaced with Roald Dahl characters. Promotional Robertsons Golly toys remain highly collectable and can sell for more than £100.