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Nelling, Inc.

C l o t h   D o l l s

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Lenci Tennis Player

18 1/2"
110 Series


A popular 18 1/2 child from the Lenci line of the 1920's and '30's is the 110 series with its timidly curious expression, side glancing painted eyes, these in light brown, two-tone lips, full cheek and gracefully painted eyebrows. The hair is a short, wavy bob of strawberry blond mohair and it is plentiful.

Of added interest is the fact that this child is from the sports series, as he is dressed in his original ecru wool felt tennis outfit, with red felt, brimmed cap and trusty tennis racket. The head swivels and the body is jointed at the shoulders and hips, having hands with fingers separated by stitches. The original shoes are so tightly situated that trying to remove them to see the marks under the feet could cause damage.

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Izannah Walker, the Cover Girl

Every Izannah cloth doll is an important one, whether in near mint condition or if needing substantial restoration, we love them all!  This Izannah (19") came to me from a private collection and what gives her that extra bit of importance is that, not only does she appear in the John Darcy Noble book "Beautiful Dolls", but she also appears in and on the March 2018 cover of Antique Doll Collector Magazine.  She has plenty of warmth and soul, starting with her painted gray/blue eyes, gently colored lips and cheeks, and single ringlet curls in front of her raised ears.
Her surface on face, shoulders, hair and arms is original, showing the unavoidable marks of time, but not enough to distract from her beauty and presence.  Only a couple spots on her forehead and on her nose bear the careful, loving trace of trying to touch up as little as possible, thus preserving originality.  There are untouched scuffs on top of her head, around her neck, and on her lower arms to hands that have all fingers present, but showing different levels of wear.
Her fabric body is in lovely original condition and she has the more unusual bare feet on which she wears her well worn, brown leather, lace-up shoes.  Stockings, undergarments and dress are all antique and with her are included the two publications in which she is documented.

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Lenci Sport Series - Rower


From the rare and sought-after Lenci sports series comes this handsome guy (17"), the Lenci Rower (missing his wooden oar) who dates from 1930 Italy. His face is pressed and painted felt with the side-glancing shyness of the 300 series, with brown painted eyes and soft blond mohair on his swivel head. Also of felt is his chubby, stuffed toddler body, jointed at the shoulders and hips, as well as his rowing costume of cream with bold black stripes repeated on the shirt and cap. He is the proud winner of a blue ribbon from a past doll competition. Just a bit of soil is on his face, with a small area of wear over his right eyebrow.

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Black Stockinet Beecher Doll
The Judy McDonald Collection

Made by a women's church group in Elmira NY between 1892 and 1910, the Beecher doll (20") was designed by Julia Jones Beecher.  Although a quite subtle face, the Beecher doll had powerful, beautiful features caused by constructive stitching, bold red thread used for the lips and the two varying layers of glass beads used to create the cornea and iris of the eyes. The hair is tightly curled and stitched black yarn.
The stockinet was stretched rather tightly over the face and it is therefore common to see repair stitches to reinforce holes that would occur over time.  Her body is of a semi shiny cotton cloth and is jointed with stitching at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.  She wears her original blue cotton dress with white apron and tied around her head is her original red, black and white bandana  Quite interesting are her camel suede mocassins.

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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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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.


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!