The first weekend in December I ticked two of my favorite collecting boxes at the Gaithersburg doll show. And I saw and talked with several doll friends that I haven’t seen in a while. It was a good day.
First, I found this charming French papier-mâché doll with the short, wispy hairdo that I find so appealing. She’s my first papier-mâché doll and I have to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about these dolls.
In the past few years I have narrowed down my doll reference book collection quite a bit, so I wasn’t able to learn very much about her. But, here’s what I think. She was sold to me as French and I believe that’s true. I’m not sure of her age, but think she’s mid-nineteenth century.
I found several references to dolls of this type being manufactured by Voit and called “Pauline type”. I just don’t know.
Let’s examine her and I’ll tell you what else I do and don’t know about her.
She stands about 12″ tall and her head and kid lower arms are painted with an off-white paint/gesso. It has a matte finish. I believe it is original on her head, but I don’t know about the arms.
Her wispy bits are lovely and original.
There are a few shiny black paint spots on the back of her hair that I think are a previous owner’s unsuccessful attempt at subtle touch-ups.
Her face painting looks original and is well done, with some paint loss to her lips. She needs to be cleaned, but I’m not really sure how to go about it. I’ll try a Q-tip and plain water on her lower shoulder plate to see if that works without doing damage before I try to clean her face.
Her kid body is in good shape, but I don’t know if it is original to her. I’m just not sure what type of body she should have. It appears to be a simple French-type body with unjointed hips and is the appropriate size, pigeon toes and all.
There is a split in the kid behind one of her elbows. I keep some thin white kidskin on hand for just such mishaps. I’ll just cut a small piece and glue it on with white glue to keep more stuffing from falling out.
The kid collar that attaches the body to the shoulder plate and the tops of her arms are obviously new.
She doesn’t own undies, but has an early slip that’s been sewn on.
I believe her two-piece dress was made to fit her from a borrowed doll dress. It is sewn with various colors of thread and all the layers don’t close in the back. The lovely antique cotton print fabric is in relatively good shape with only a few holes.
She is not a classically pretty doll, but I find her compelling. I paid very little for her, she fits one of my collecting categories and I really like her, so I think I got a good deal.
The new BLUE (my favorite color) is not a doll, but a beautiful old box.
It is 5 3/4″ long, 2 3/4″ tall and 2 1/2″ deep (15cm x 7cm x 6.5cm). Of course I think it would make a wonderful “trunk” for a mignonette.
It is a lovely shade of blue velvet and has fantastic hardware.
The inside is bright yellow-gold satin. I probably paid too much for it, but I had to have it.
I made it through a tough November with a few new scars (and a greater appreciation for my family and friends). So it was good to start off the new month with some smiles.