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Nelling, Inc.

French   D o l l s

page  1, 2

(Click on photos to enlarge)

  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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French Character Girl

Similar to the Limoges character "Toto", this lively girl (25") is incised "DEPOSE, illegible Francaise, Caprice No.19" on the back of the head and certainly looks like part of the Limoges or Lanternier families!  She has big, brown paperweight type glass eyes, an open mouth with smiling teeth, pale bisque color for this later 1900 era, pierced ears, what looks to be her original human hair bob-cut wig and soft cheek shading. Her French composition body is fully jointed with jointed wrists and the hip joints are slanted in the teenage body style.
  As normally seen on these the the SFBJ bodies of the period, there is paint chipping off in areas such as the hands.  When looking at her undergarments, the possibility of original clothing becomes evident, as all the pieces button together and fit her perfectly.  Maybe her cotton dress with lace insets has been with her from the start as well, but either way, her presentation is very satisfying, especially her perky black straw bonnet with red feather to match her antique, red leather shoes.


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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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