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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

Luminous Jumeau Portrait Bebe


The Jumeau portrait bebe went through a brisk evolution of looks in a very short period of time, being the first half of the 1880's. This fresh-faced girl (16")  is from the second series of about 1883 and you can see the refinement that took place with her very symmetrical and balanced features. She has ocean blue paperweight eyes, a closed mouth in pale rose, and smooth, even pale bisque with gentle shading and decoration. Her mohair wig is a very nice replacement, her ears are pierced and she has her cork pate, but not the Jumeau "screwgle" type attachment.

The chunky, marked Jumeau eight-ball body is jointed at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, and has straight wrists. It looks like the arms and legs have an old repaint that has developed its own patina. She wears and antique, pale grey-blue frock of silk with lace trim that is gathered all around the lowered waist. Her undergarments are antique as is her flower-adorned, woven straw hat.

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Musical Automaton

12 3/4" W, by 10 1/4" T,  by 7" D
 Music and Dance Lessons


When the bright musical tune starts after winding the key and releasing the cord of this charming automaton, you immediately enter an endearing scene with the lady of the house's hands playing the keyboard, the man waving his wand, and the child performing multiple turns or pirouettes upon their direction.   As she dances, both the lady and  gentleman nod their heads in approval.

The heads and hands of the adults are of molded and painted paper mache, and their bodies of wire armature and they wear original silk costumes with elaborate trims, having expected melting from time.  The little girl has a bisque shoulder head with molded blond hair, bisque hands and bisque lower legs with molded shoes, wearing her original cream and aqua silk frock.  The base and piano are of dark stained wood with intricate floral decorative painting on all sides and on top.  The lady is seated on a carved wooden chair and the man, an upholstered stool  So far, it seems like the music plays until finished, however the pull cord may provide the function to stop that has not been discovered.

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First Series Portrait Bebe


For the collector who thrives to acquire antique dolls that offer originality, it is so satisfying to see a French bebe like this one. Behold a 14" size 2/0, first series Jumeau portrait from the earliest bebe production, with huge, almond-shaped, hand cut eye sockets that frame blue spiral paperweight eyes. The decoration of her facial features is gentle with the lightly stroked, dark blond eyebrows, fine and abundant eyelashes, some shadow on the lids, a hint of rouge on the cheeks and the pale colored lips with defining accent lines and a space between the lips. Her original blond mohair wig is long, naturally wavy and thick and she has pierced ears.

Her early, eight-ball, straight wrist, stamped Jumeau body is in beautiful condition as are her original undergarments. She wears her original, opulent frock of aqua silk like she was poured into it, and its intricate construction includes multi-layers of contrasting ruffled fabric, bordered with soft lace, a pointed edge over-jacket, coming together in the front with a smocked silk bodice. And to top it off, aqua leather original French shoes and the only added item, a perfectly matched, antique chapeau!

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Bru Jne 5 on Chevrot Body

Antique Costume of the Orient

With the influx of Asian influence in 19th century Europe, it is no surprise that it would inspire the presentations of antique dolls, such as with this luscious Bru Jne. 5 bebe. Everything from furniture, art, music, home décor accents and fabrics, jewelry and fashion offered examples having Asian themes, prints, patterns and accents. And that is clearly visible with her antique Chinese silk costume with jumpsuit, embroidered robe, hat and platform silk shoes, all displaying colorful fabrics, motifs and trims genuinely Asian.

 Even the original antique wig that is part of the costume is made of strong, black human hair that is loosely styled, allowing the long locks to fall from the shoulders. She is also shown with an antique, blond mohair wig that she keeps to the side in case she needs it for a future extra outfit. She has warm brown paperweight eyes, lush lashes and finely stroked brows on a molded brow bone, creamy bisque with appealingly shaded cheeks and a closed mouth, in a delicate rose hue with fine outlining of the lips. She has pierced ears with the right earring hole having a chip. As Chevrot bodies go, hers is outstanding in condition and cleanliness of her leather torso, leather over wood upper arms, leather over metal armature upper legs and wood lower legs and carved feet.

Her lovely bisque hands in their ballerina pose are perfect and on her chest is her original, Bru Jne factory label, still very intact! The era in which this Bru was made is about the time that Casimir Bru introduced the elusive Asian featured Bru Jne, and these brown-eyed examples with traditional Bru Jne. features were also offered in the costumes of the Orient.

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Angelic Jumeau

Size 11 Tete


The presentation of this size 11 Tete Jumeau is quite mesmerizing, due to her soft, beautiful face blending in with a gently hued, antique outfit that looks like a factory ensemble. She has paperwight eyes that look like two pools of blue water, a closed, subtly tinted and outlined mouth, irredescent, pale bisque and just a hint of shading, softly painted lashes and brows, pierced ears and an antique, long blond mohair wig that has some sparse areas on the crown. Her fully jointed (including the wrists), French composition and wood body has some wear at joints and on hands, but the finish is original and on her lower back is the faint Jumeau mark.  

Let's talk about her spendid costume, a factory French number made of organdy with silk inserts and trim, some lace accents and a bonnet of similar materials and workmanship that blends beautifully. Her undergarments and socks are antique, and her shoes are pale powder blue leather of German manufacture. With the softly colored dress, bouncy skirt and crisp, frilly bonnet, she looks light as a feather!

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Series C Steiner

Lever Eye Mechanism


Jules Nicholas Steiner produced a most imaginative and varied line of toys and dolls in the mid to late 1800's.  All those faces! Innocent, cherubic, somber, playful, serious, joyful and even some theatrical characters! Intermingled with that were novelties and innovations that were inspired by other cultures, past times and that were destined to inspire other doll companies that were his competitors. An example of which is the lever-eye innovation featured on this endearing Series C Steiner, who has a lever behind the head that when pivoted by hand, it opens and closed the blue enamel eyes.

The ingenious mechanism inside the head is a physics lesson in itself! She has mauve shadow over her eyes and under her soft, gently stroked brows, a nice feature of the early bebes like this one. The subtlety of lightly applied lashes and super pale bisque is continued with a delicate rouge wash over her full and youthful cheeks. She has her original, purple cardboard Steiner pate, her original, long blond monair wig, pierced ears and a closed, rose-petal mouth accented with a slightly darker outline. Her early Steiner child body of composition has stout limbs, straight wrists, “banana” shaped fingers and is jointed at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

We can marvel at the great pose-ability of these Steiner bodies and we can also utilize it by posing her taking a quick nap, reclining in her antique undergarments and lace-up child corset or “stay” For children, the corset was not meant to accentuate the shape, but to provide health benefits like warmth and good posture. Her outfit places her possibly dressed for school, having a pleated cotton/wool blend skirt in hounds tooth, and a solid navy, close-fitting jacket top with plenty of front buttons, top to bottom. The antique, fine leather shoes are in a luggage tan which complement her rare, bourrelet hat used for infants on up to young children in the day. Sort of a Victorian straw helmet!

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Pair of French Children and Sheep in Original Box


Still mounted in their original, glass top presentation box is this delightful pair of 7” dolls, a girl and boy, dressed in fancy shepherds costumes of the eighteenth century. The dolls have bisque heads, hands and lower legs, glass eyes and closed mouths, with bodies of firmly stuffed cloth and of course their clothing is original right up to their satin-covered staffs and opulent chapeaux. 

On the pasture with them are four paper mache and wood, fleece covered toy sheep. Still secured in this original display, they have never been played with, therefore in mint condition!

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Henri Alexander Phenix Star Bebe


From the house of Henri Alexander in the mid-1880's comes this beguiling French doll (24") called the Phenix Bebe or Phenix Star, due to the *89 incised on the back of her beautiful bisque head. She has large, blue paperweight eyes, an elongated nose, closed mouth and meticulous painting of dramatic features. Her brunette human hair wig could be original, she has pierced ears and has a fully jointed, wood and composition body with some wear at the neckline and joints.  

The firm of Henri Alexander had later connections with the Steiner firm, explaining her resemblance to some of the Steiner bebe molds and painting of features. Her royal blue silk frock with added details and pleating has that original feel along with her icy blue silk-lined, black velvet cape with fur collar trimmed with black glass beading, plus a matching, black velvet, pointed bonnet. Antique undergarments, socks and leather shoes.                                                                                                                                                                                                      LW

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Patriotic Candy Container

15 1/2"
In Original "Louvre Dept. Store Box"


Wearing what appears to be a wartime service or nurse costume, we have an SFBJ bisque head with an almost cornflower blue paperwight eyes and open mouth with teeth, on a limbless body that serves as a large candy container. Her costume, dating during World War I, is of light wool in cream and an orange-red, while underneath is the cylindrical cardboard storage box for anything from sweets to anything else that will stay hidden until needed!

Recently purchased in Paris, she is contained in her original store box with a large label on the lid that reads “Louvre” which was a thriving department store in her day and is still open on Rue de Rivoli. Quite an unusual piece in remarkable original condition! $950.

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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!

 home ] [ about us ] [ accessories ] [ all bisques ] [cloth dolls] [ early ]  [ fashion dolls ] [ french dolls ] [ furniture ] [ german dolls ] [ misc. dolls ] [ policies ] [clothing]