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Nelling, Inc.

F r e n c h   D o l l s

page  1, 2

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Series C Steiner

Lever Eyes

A museum treasure that lived at Angel's Attic Miniature and Doll Museum in Santa Monica CA until it was closed in 2017, this 12" Series C Bourgoin Steiner bebe is a keeper.  Not only is she an exquisite, early doll in a petite, cabinet size with the unusual feature of the lever eye mechanism,  she is preserved in her totally original ensemble, undergarments, shoes, wig and purple Steiner pate.
Her midnight blue enamel eyes are connected o a lever at the rear left side of the head that when lifted, opens and closes them.  The eyes are framed with feathery lashes and brows, accented with mauve eye-shadow that complements her soft, rosy cheeks.  She has a closed mouth, pierced ears, and her original long lambskin wig that is still attached to the much appreciated purple cardboard pate, a signature feature of the Steiner firm.
Her fully jointed, straight wrist early body, which is so much fun to pose due to its ingenious, graceful styling, has the exclusive Caduceus stamp on one hip and at the crown rim of her head is the red ink "Sie C Steiner Bourgoin" mark.  She is presented in her completely original outfit of teal velvet trimmed with coffee hued lace that repeats itself throughout the garment and on the matching teal velvet, fancy bonnet.  Even her thin, cotton socks that match the lace in color and leather slippers were probably hers from the start.

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Factory Original Clown

Paper Mache Head

Several French firms adopted the theatrical charm of the clown by issuing a doll embodying a clown, with reality being taken over by whimsy in makeup, hair and costume and the sky was the limit.  From elaborate cartoon characters and Polichinelles to stage and circus performers, doll makers Huret, Jumeau and Steiner featured some wonderful examples, and lesser firms like Pintel and Gottschalk, Fleichman and Bloedel and later also SFBJ joined the ranks. This colorful fellow is from one of the latter firms and is all original.
He has a heavy paper mache head with porcelain like smoothness, and the painted face features hand drawn insects on the cheeks.  He has blue glass eyes, an open mouth with teeth, and his original curly auburn wig.  He has a five-piece Steiner type body that wears a silk costume of bold, blocked colors, black stockings and slippers a felt hat that just barely rides atop his head. In one photo, he is pictured with his mate currently available on our German page.

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SFBJ "Twirp" 247

In this larger size of 19 1/2", this SFBJ 247 mold called "Twirp" fills the room with her special brand of French character and personality.  She is a colorful girl with bright blue glass sleep eyes that have perky original eyelashes still intact, rosy cheeks and an open, smiling mouth with deep rouge lips. Her French toddler body with slanted hips has the identifiable, upturned SFBJ big toes, fully jointed articulation and still has its red and blue, round factory sticker on the center back
  .  Her original, dark sandy blond human hair wig, reflects the bobbed and wavy style of the 1920's when she was made and she wears a turquoise silk factory dress with a peachy crepe silk, ruched bonnet.  No cuteness was spared with her undergarments as she has darling short bloomers attached to her baby corset with buttons all around, plus a cotton chemise and full slip.

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Jumeau Portrait Bebe

In a search for a doll with the softest presence, this 13 1/2" Jumeau second series portrait girl would fulfill the wish, as her creamy, dewy blushed bisque decorated with pale, gentle eyelash and brow strokes, rose petal closed lips, grey-blue paperweight eyes and sandy, blond original mohair wig made her a delicate subject in every photo.
She has a stamped, Jumeau eight ball body with straight wrists and wears a delightful, antique pink silk dress with lace trim floating around the skirt, shoulders and trimming the matching antique straw hat. Antique undergarments, socks and French leather shoes are also part of her ensemble, as well as an amethyst colored stone pendant around her neck.  She is another proud graduate of the Legacy Doll Museum in Billings, Montana.

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Ferdinand Gaultier
Early, Bru-like Bebe

and Intricate Metal Carriage

An early, Block Letter French bebe by F.G. that supplies an example of the early business relationship between Ferdinand Gaultier and Casmir Bru, where design ideas, part production and styles were borrowed, shared and utilized.  The similarities here to an early Bru  are many, such as her pale and infantine face, heavenly blue paperweight eyes, swivel head and shoulder plate with square-cut collarette, delicate decoration and sparse but original, natural skin wig.
It continues with her Bru-like, kid leather plump body with gussetted joints and beautifully sculpted bisque hands and forearms.  The identifying difference between the two manufacturers' hand sculpting is the pronounced angular pose of the F.G. fingers as opposed to the rounded curves to those of the early Bru bebe. The body construction, however, is almost identical to that of the early Bru Brevete.  And the way this beautiful example is dressed makes her a twin sister to the Early Bru Teteur with her baby-esque presentation and overall feel.  Riding in her elaborate, mesh metal carriage, all seems right in her innocent world!

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Circle Dot Bru

From the early years of the Bru production, just after the Brevete bebe, came the Circle Dot Bru, with her highly sculpted facial features and powerful persona.  She has oversized, almond shaped and very blue paperweight eyes, mauve eye shadow, soft browns and lush lashes, full molded lips with a pronounced tongue in between, and angelic blush over pale, pale bisque.  The back of her swivel head is marked with the full circle and dot, and her bisque shoulder plate has subtle, pre-adolescent molded breasts.
At roughly 19" tall, she has a sturdy, gusseted leather body, with bisque lower arms and cherubic molded hands.  Her body has some conservative patching to protect the original healthy structure.  She has an abundant antique blond mohair wig, her pierced ears and turquoise glass bead earrings that match her chest-length necklace with gold metal pendant. She has traveled through life with and extended collection of wardrobe pieces, all of them genuine and special in their simplicity that so represents the early bebe style.
   In addition to very special and detailed undergarments with pleating and lace trim, she had three beautifully trimmed cotton dresses that can be worn alone or as ensembles, with the simpler ones providing the extra fill of an "under-dress", a smart, pleated grey wool coat with striped silk lining, opulent lace and silk bonnet and of course a deluxe cotton night gown with more pleating and lace trim.  Antique leather shoes and knit stockings complete her loveliness.

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Rare SFBJ 245 Googly

 The French aspect really comes through with this joyfully smiling child , who has that extra dimension of "peculiar" that only the French could add.  It is an idealization of the normal, almost a theatrical persona, and it is brilliant.  This darling example is 8 tall, has blue glass sleep eyes, a closed, grinning mouth in which the molded teeth can be seen hiding between the lips, but having been intentionally painted the lip color by the factory, for a more watermelon smile.

   The body is a stout, five-piece toddler style with molded and painted short boots of cinnamon brown.  The hands show some wear, but the condition overall is excellent. The auburn mohair wig is antique if not original. The Brittany regional outfit and muslin undergarments she wears are fresh, from the SFBJ factory production line, with only the complementary bonnet with ribbon trim being an antique addition.  The garments have never been removed and are stitched into permanent position.

more French Dolls go to page 2


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!

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