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Nelling, Inc.

French   D o l l s

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Fre. A Steiner

La Parisienne

With the flat and crisp quality that an original organdy dress can supply, this cabinet size Figure A Steiner has that impeccable original feel that lovers of genuine doll clothing can appreciate.  Only time can give us this unmistakable look and feel and it is so satisfying.  Not to mention the antique bonne that compliments her crisp ensemble!  Underneath are her antique white undergarments, stockings and French, ivory leather shoes.  What a simple, clean presentation!
Her blue paperweight eyes, closed mouth, smooth, rose petal bisque, and softly- toned decoration are framed with her original blond mohair wig atop her original grey cardboard Steiner pate.  Her fully jointed Steiner body with slim hands is in excellent condition, and bears the "La Parisienne" stamp on the upper left hip area.  Her ivory painted fingernails suggests that she came from the Au Nein Blue store in Paris, circa late 1880's.

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Choice Bru Jne.

Size 3

Having the deep molding, plump lips and molded tongue that Bru Jne. collectors love, this 14" size 3 has great presence, but in a small, cabinet size.  She has warm brown paperweight eyes, creamy bisque, an almost frowning brow that catches shadows from all angles and her antique mohair wig is a light ash blonde.  Her swivel head and shoulderplate with molded breasts are both marked Bru Jne. 3, and she has the typical, graceful bisque lower arms and hands with a finger repair that is virtually invisible (so much so that it is a challenge to find!).  The darker sandy blond mohair wig used in the body shots is available if preferred.
She retains most of her original chest label on her highly modeled, transitional leather body, with the upper arms of leather covered wood.  Her antique costume of crisp, white pique is trimmed with soutache, and peaking out of a side pocket is her little bisque travel doll. Some splashes of color are supplied by her pink satin, fancy bonnet of antique fabrics and her pink crocheted antique socks, and she wears high quality, antique leather shoes with buckles.

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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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Early Bisque Hip Steiner Bebe

Jules Nicholas Steiner was a pioneer of the transition from fashion dolls to child dolls that began with his early bebes of the 1870's.  Borrowing ideas for jointing from the Orient, he adopted the Motchsmann or taufling body that by using bisque or paper mache for the head, shoulders, hips, lower arms and legs, and using stuffed muslin for the midsection, elbows and knees, made for a child doll that allowed for movement and lifelike flexibility.  This model (13"), with the closed mouth and stationery neck, is all in bisque and muslin, has cobalt enamel eyes and a very pale, almost white complexion. 
She has a closed dome head, flat unpierced ears, delicate shading, and statue like molding of all her body parts, including her derriere, typical of this very early stage in doll production.  She only has repair to the left thumb and forefinger, a wonder for a child's toy made of porcelain and of this age.  Her original strawberry blond, mohair wig is very sparse, so she has a replacement mohair wig of a very similar shade.  Her layers and layers of antique cotton and organdy clothing make for quite a dreamy presentation, along with her antique lace bonnet.

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Tete Jumeau

  Born of the 17th Century Italian comedy "Commedia dell'Arte", the French Polichinelle was a rambunctious clown who was a combination of two characters, Pantalone and Pulcinella. The success of those Italian plays inspired French writer, Marivaux to combine the two characters into one "Polichinelle" and its spirit has been depicted ever since as a marionette in puppet shows, political cartoons and storybook characters, and of course, as a festively dressed antique doll produced in the late 1800's.  Many French factories provided the heads for the Polichinelle, this one being that of an unmarked Tete Jumeau size 4.
His (or her) paperweight eyes are dark brown, with an open mouth with teeth, pierced ears, and original blond mohair wig.  His oversized and beautifully modeled hands are of the same luminous, pale bisque of the head.  Standing 29" tall including the hat, he can either sit or stand, displaying his original costume that retains nearly all of its original splendor and condition.  Muted shades of cream and pale pink silk retain their original decoration of metal trims, bells and the metallic strings that enable the marionette action of the arms and legs.

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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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