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Nelling, Inc.

C l o t h   D o l l s

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French Venus Cloth Doll

The grand success of the Lenci Company lead by Elena Scavini in the 1920's and beyond, influenced many countries in Europe to produce "Lenci-type" dolls of pressed felt and cloth like this one from the Venus company in France.  Other French makers were Raynal and Poir. This sweet girl is 16 3/4" tall and wears what may be a governess costume and she is all original from head to toe, even having her tow original tags.  One is for her manufacturer "Venus" and the other  from Au bon March in Paris, the store that marketed her reading "Jouets" or toys.
Very much like her inspiration of a Lenci doll, she has the pressed felt face with side-glancing, brown painted eyes and a slightly pouty expression.  Her black velvet uniform is trimmed with lace and metallic cord and the accent color provided by her aqua blue apron and skirt hep trim is of a satin like synthetic, typical of the 30's and 40's from which she came.  She is all of cloth except for her celluloid or early plastic hands and she has jointing at the neck, shoulder and hips.

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Dora Petzoldt Cloth Art Doll

The Judy McDonald Collection

A contemporary of the Marian Kaulitz Munich Art dolls, Dora Petzoldt created this seldom found cloth beauty during the same 1930's period.  Also called the Art Doll Movement of Germany, it was a fitting name for these lifelike works of art in 3-D, with their molded composition, elongated socket heads, slim stockinet bodies, stitch- jointed at the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips, soft mohair wigs and expertly painted and shaded facial features.
This example has painted blue, detailed eyes with shaded lids, a warm red lips in a closed, pensive semi-smile, a strong nose, almost olive complexion with lightly rouged cheeks and wispy platinum short hair.  Her original costume, modeled after the most fashionable children's clothing of the day, is of heavy striped cotton with a seaside flair, antique white leather shoes and a smart, finely woven straw cloche hat.  Excellent condition with faint moisture lines on limbs.  From the long-loved collection of Judy McDonald.

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Dora Petzoldt Cloth Doll

The Judy McDonald Collection

Such a nice surprise to find another one of these life-like cloth dolls made by Dora Petzoldt during the Art Doll Movement of the 1930's.  This tall child has a molded composition socket head on a long-limbed stockinet body that has stitch-jointing at the shoulders, hips, elbows and knees, with some moisture marks on the limbs. Her painted, multi-detailed blue eyes and shaded eylids have a serene look, she has a long face with shaded cheeks and a subtle rose painted closed mouth.  There is some wear to the surface of her face, mostly seen at the tip of her nose.
 Her vibrant, red mohair locks frame her face in a fashionable bob.  The original bold red and white stripe skirt of heavy cotton is repeated on her cuffs, pockets and placket collar of the also original shirt top, she has antique black leather shoes and red stockings, with antique undergarments that peak from below.  The mark on her body reads: Dora Petzold Registered Trademark Doll Germany and just like all the Dora Petzoldt creations, was carefully made in Petzold's German  workshop under her direct supervision.  From the long-loved collection of Judy McDonald.

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Whimsical Character

in Black Cloth

Here's one to bring a smile to your face, a curious and tall black cloth doll from the early 20th century that has strong features molded into her face with stitching, then enhanced with painted details like large, expressive eyes, highlighted brows and a stern set of red painted lips, not to mention her bristly waves of reddish brunette real hair.  Her stuffed body is stout as opposed to her long and lanky cloth limbs.  A tailored outfit of a jacket and full skirt with long cotton underskirt in bold colors lets her sit just about anywhere she wants.

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Charming  17 1/2" Black Cloth Girl

Where is this girl from?  She is so cute and she gets more and more endearing the longer you study her.  We place her as Caribbean or American, early 20th century and the most charming detail about her are her stitched fingernails and toenails!  Seconded by her side-glancing button eyes with embroidered whites, just like her embroidered orange-red lips.  Her black cloth face has some detailed stitching to accentuate the nose and she has black yarn pigtail braids secured by orange ribbons.
The whole body is cloth with sewn joints at the shoulders and hips and don't forget the fingers and toes with accents of white stitches.  Her blue and white plaid, two piece heavy cotton dress has some ruffles and tucks for interest, and she carries a woven cloth basket of cloth bananas from the country market. 

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 French Leather Baby

 I pulled this beloved French leather baby (5") from my personal collection,  and for those who collect these dolls, the varying character style is no surprise.  There are certainly a few distinct looks, probably by different artists at the time.  This infant has some crimping of the face that could have been caused by moisture over the decades, or possibly the piece of leather used had that inherent texture.
 Made ca. 1920 of leather with pressed facial features on a swivel head that looks to have been re-secured inside, impasto painted blonde hair, oil painted complexion and facial features, and bent limb body with jointing at shoulders and hips.  The antique gown and underwear are of a diaphanous organdy fabric, while the vintage bonnet is crocheted.  On the lower back of the head, there is a gap where the leather slightly separated and hardened at time of making.  Both babies are shown in the one photo enjoying a stroll in the Marklin carriage being sold separately on the Accessories Page.

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Lenci Girl

Northern Italy

Depicting a girl in costume from the northern Italian region of Castelrotto comes this 18" Lenci 300 series doll, made in approximately 1930.  Her black felt original costume is in very good condition (a few small holes) and has two factory tags still attached on the lower back of the skirt.  Her face is also in very good condition with a tinge of overall slight dust, and she has light blue painted, side glancing eyes and sunny blond hair pulled back in a snood.  Under her arm is her original, colorful painted barrel made of wood and she retains her original white leather slippers.

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Lenci Girl


Costume of Piemonte, Italy

With an all original costume depicting a girl from the extreme north of Italy, we have a vibrantly dressed Lenci doll with her heart-shaped tag reading her name "Cervinia" and her region "Piemonte".  Made in the 1940's, she also retains her white cardboard Lenci square tag with green lettering.  She has a molded felt face with grey-green painted eyes, blond curly sewn in mohair wig, and jointing at the shoulders and hips of her stuffed felt body.  Her costume and head piece of red and black felt scattered with felt flower appliques is free of motholes, however her silk shawl and apron has melting mostly on the apron and  wide ribbons that tie in the back. She is accessorized with a wooden staff mounted with colorful felt flowers that are also found on the side of her bonnet.

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Trio of Rare K*R Cloth Caricatures

  The German firm of Kammer and Reinhardt proved their versatility over their many decades of doll production, using composition, bisque and celluloid in their repertoire. In 1912, this entertaining series of cloth comic characters was introduced and few survived the elements of time, weather and storage.
We have here three individuals, each with his own personality, including a stout character who is either whistling or missing his cigarette, a tall, ginger haired gentleman who is indeed smoking, and a shorter member of the group who is also smoking, is holding his fabric flower bouquet and has a fur muff around his neck.  All three are dressed in varying masculine costumes in felt and cotton, each wearing a matching hat.
  Quite appealing is that the are fortified under their stuffing with wire armatures and their wooden feet are amusingly a bit oversized, providing extra stability and balance for stand-free displaying possibilities.  Condition is original and very good for these hard to find examples from K*R.  Tallest is 13", shorter are 12".


Post Office Box 4327  n   Burbank, CA 91503

       Cell (818) 738-4591   n Home Phone (818) 562-7839 

Don't forget to look at the Miscellaneous page!