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Nelling, Inc.

French   D o l l s

page  1, 2

(Click on photos to enlarge)

First Period Jumeau E.J. Bebe

  The early, first period Jumeau E.J. bebe with the incised mark on the back of her head of an "8" over "E J".  This doll was born just after the Jumeau portrait bebe, and the two models often look like each other, with outgoing and incoming design getting combined on the production line.  The one resounding description of Jumeau's early dolls is the word "gentle", which can be applied to the painting of her features, the cut of her soulful, brown paperweight eyes, and the soft complexion of her pale bisque.
  Inside her head is the original coil "screwgle" that firmly mounts her head to her sturdy, chunky early French body.  It is stamped with the Jumeau mark on the lower back, is jointed at the shoulders, hips, elbows and knees with floating or loose balls, and has its original finish and patina except for some retouch on the right lower leg.
Her costume is such a unique representation of Victorian child style, being a fully knitted frock of teal blue wool, covering the back closure buttons,  joining with a brimmed, knitted cap of the same yarn, and charming, cozy leg warmers or knee length spats that cover her signed E. Jumeau factory shoes.  Completing the wintery ensemble is a Jumeau, fawn wool coat with cape collar and a hand-warming muff with crimson silk lining.

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  French DEP Wind-up Walking Boy

Here is a conversation piece from the late 1800's and an example of the constant introduction of movement as a feature for playthings.  This 16" guy has a bisque head with brown sleep eyes and an open mouth with teeth, a French composition body of the SFBJ type judging from the way some of the surface has chipped away on the hands.  It is jointed at the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hips.
On the left lower side of his body is his original turn key and when wound, he slowly moves his legs forward and backward, the right arm slight raises up and down and his head gently nods from side to side.  All this movement is very subtle and it was probably much more dramatic in his younger days.  His metal feet, marked "Brevete SGDG" on the bottom, each have a set of two wheels that propel him to stroll slowly forward, if he feels like it!  He has an antique grey checked wool suit and felt fedora style hat.  Right index finger is missing, probably a walking injury!

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Divine, Unmarked Bebe

Attributed to Mothereau

Like answering a question with a question, so does this muse of a bebe provoke thought, complete a search and then cause it to continue.  The hunt for an exquisite French bebe that has the attributes of the finest makers of that golden time may be over, but the learning continues.  Marked only with an incised "2/0" on the back of the head, she opens discussion on being an early Jumeau, Schmitt or a Petit et Dumoutier, but a study of the body design brings Mothereau to the table.

Now everything seems to fall into place as she may be very similar to her ca. 1870's sisters, but the unusual expression that you  know you've seen but not frequently, comes into focus.  The highly unusual style of molding at the joints of her early, straight wrist French body is that of the Bebe Mothereau, as is her unique facial molding.  As a very early bebe, she has unevenly cut, large almond eye sockets, dark brown enamel eyes, pale bisque (tiny pit at end of nose), an original and somewhat wild sheepskin wig, and a closed mouth with full lips that almost want so part and speak.  Her A-line linen factory frock has the palest aqua ribbon detail that is repeated subtly on her frilly silk bonnet, both of which are perfect in every way for her.  Undergarments all antique as are her pale aqua, crocheted socks and cream canvas antique shoes.

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Petit e' Dumoutier

Wax Over Composition

As an example of the many innovations by the French doll factories of the 1880's to create a bebe that was unbreakable or "incassable",  this fresh-faced bebe has the facial features and body detail that tie her to the PD factory.  Her wide, rounded face with idealistically almond, blue glass eyes, pouty mouth and soft coloring play well with her wax over composition complexion that is very well preserved with just the expected surface crazing.
Her body has the signature metal hands used by PD, on a near mint, five-piece composition body that retains it's French boutique stamp.  She wears a factory, candy pink cotton frock, lace bonnet, and antique caramel colored mohair wig and some extra-ordinary, original cotton undergarments.  The ivory leather, lace-up  shoes are antique.  This is one to round out any fine, French bebe collection.

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Post Office Box 4327  n   Burbank, CA 91503

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

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