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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 Character Young Man

  There were several firms like Lantenier, Limoge, Huret and Fleischman Bloedel, to name a few, that produced these amusing character faces that lent themselves so well to the theatrical French themes in toys and dolls.  This one (11")  is marked JE Masson, Lorraine, No 20, and is a product of the Limoge factory.  He has painted eyes and molded teeth, a mohair wig and a fully jointed French composition body.  Whether he portrays a magician or a dancer, his original tuxedo and top hat earn him a moment under the spotlight entertaining us, his audience.

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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 Nain Bleu store in Paris, circa late 1880's.

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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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Bru Jne. Modele

14 1/2"
Rare Small Size

Full of vibrancy and vigor comes this playful Bru Jne. on fully jointed and highly desirable Modele wood body (Expertly and beautifully refreshed surface). Unusual because she is of the smaller 14 1/2" size, her appeal doesn't stop there.  She has blue paperweight eyes, pale bisque with healthy blushed cheeks, closed mouth with molded tongue, pierced ears, and an antique blond mohair wig.
  Definitely dressed for a celebration, her antique costume has a Polichinelle flavor to it, with its oversized buttons and trim, extra flouncy organdy skirt, and matching satin pantaloons having the same tiny pink bead trim as the dress.  The condition of the dress is frail around the arms and down the sides from handling and dressing, but for display it is hardly noticeable with all that is going on with this girl!  Her undergarments and stockings are also antique, and she wears marked Bru size 4 leather shoes.

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Circle Dot Bru

Genuine Treasure

  While the images of this beauty say more than any description could do, the need to talk about her welcomes knowing the rest of the story!  She is a stunning Bru bebe of the Circle Dot period, marked on the back of the head with a circle and dot, having pale, almost icy bisque, piercing blue paperweight almond eyes, a full, open closed mouth with molded teeth, pierced ears and sublime, gentle decoration of features.
  She wears her never removed, original skin wig, has a swivel head on bisque shoulder plate, a plump, gusseted Bru body with some small patches at some joints and around the elbow of the left arm, and graceful bisque hands that are perfect.  The leather body holds a bit of a curve from time and storage and on her bottom left eye rim is a miniscule fleck of bisque missing which is hard to see but needs to be mentioned.
  Exciting is her original costume, a stretch lace and silk, body fitting frock that closes in the front, original undergarments and stockings, and original, marked Bru leather shoes.  On the front bodice and sleeves, some antique replacement stretch lace has been secured on to hide and protect the original time-tattered material.  Only the magnificent, antique and grand chapeau has been added, looking as if it was always meant to be hers.

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  Bru Teteur

Size 2

A very young Bru bebe with the Circle Dot head featuring the Teteur open mouth and inside head mechanism that enabled the action of drinking from a bottle.  This done by turning the metal key at the back of the head, applying pressure to the rubber water compartment in the head and allowing the passage of fluid from a special glass bottle.
  This lovely example has deep brown paperweight eyes and palest bisque with her original lambskin platinum wig, pierced ears, swivel neck, head and shoulder marked with "2" and a very clean leather body with bisque hands (one patch to leather at top of right leg).  Her infant gown and bonnet are antique cotton and lace with pale blue ribbon accents to compliment the blue underdress, and around her neck is a simple bone teething ring.

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Exhibition Bru Jne. Size 14

Standing 35 1/2" tall, this gorgeous Bru Jne. size 14 is known as the exhibition model, for obvious reasons that she deserves special attention due to her grand size and beauty.  Her bisque is pale and smooth, with paperweight eyes that are each a pool of blue water, lush painted lashes and lighter brows, soft shading on the cheeks and a closed mouth with molded tongue. 
Pierced ears hide under her added blond human hair wig, although she also retains what is left of her original blond mohair wig pictured bottom left.   Shoulder plate is not marked has a fine line coming out from her front left nail hole.  It stays low on the shoulder plate and is barely visible under her preteen, protruding bust line.  Her torso and upper legs are of kid leather and there is a remnant of her original chest label and the lower legs are of carved wood having highly detailed toes.  Her upper arms are kid leather-covered wood with the jointed Chevrot jointing at the elbow, then perfect and gently posed bisque hands.
She is perfectly dressed in an aqua blue satin suit with lace trim and front bodice, and has the matching chapeau atop her head. Underneath are her fine organdy pantaloons and full slip (damage to fabric at shoulder of slip) and an added corset that is a bit too small but still looks adorable.  On her feet are marked, size 14 Bru Jne. leather shoes with wear from the ages. Her ensemble could very well pass the "original" test as it is antique, however that is not guaranteed.  What can be guaranteed is that this extraordinary bebe has that special something that lights up a room!

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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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