Back in early June, I pondered whether or not I could have 2 mojoes or if I could get my doll collecting mojo back at all. I went to the Gaithersburg doll show that weekend and didn’t find any mojo there. It all felt a bit sad. Even though I enjoyed talking with several doll friends, there were fewer dealers and many of them seemed to have the same stuff they always bring.
Skip to late July and UFDC convention week. I started to feel the mojo tingle when I looked at the Theriault’s auction catalog online. It was a stunning and inspiring collection, so I asked a friend to join me at the preview to see the dolls (and their costumes) in person and they did not disappoint.
We then went to the Rowbear doll show that runs concurrent to the UFDC convention. It was in a dark, humid and stuffy basement room. The majority of the dealers were the same ones who go to Gaithersburg. The remaining booths held a few standouts, but many of them would have fit in better at a flea market. Oh well, no mojo there.
On Wednesday, the UFDC showroom opened and I braved the crowds to get a quick look around. And I saw THE doll.
After I went back to my hotel room, I texted DH to tell him that I’d found a doll and asked if he thought I should buy it. As expected, he answered, “no”. That made me laugh.
The next day, I enlisted the help of another friend to help me decide if I should buy her. My friend told me that I was silly to think that she’d tell me no, but she promised an honest opinion.
Well, I bought the doll. When I texted DH to tell him, his response was, “mojo doll?” All I answered was, “yes”.
She is an 11″ block-letter FG, made by Francois Gaultier. I had been wanting a block-letter FG for a while and this one spoke to me.
I don’t love her dress, though. I think it makes her look a bit like a linebacker with no neck and broad shoulders. The dress is a well-made reproduction, but it is not my taste. I like a bit less froufrou.
She has dark brown paperweight eyes and is beautifully painted. Her wig is a hand-sewn mohair replacement and is lovely, but I think it has a bit too much hair. I will try to trim it and will look for another wig for her, or make one…
Her bonnet, on the other hand, makes me happy. I just love the sparkles and stars.
She is marked F.2G. in “block” letters. Later FG bebes were marked with a “scroll”. This doll dates from 1879-1887. Gaultier had made fashion/lady dolls prolifically for many years, but many collectors believe that FG really shone when it came to the production of bebe/child dolls.
I highly recommend that you thoroughly inspect and photograph your dolls when you get them home. Not only does it provide a good record, but it forces you to examine them more closely. I only started doing that for my blog and was sometimes surprised by what I found.
Inside my doll’s head, I can see that her eyes have not been reset. The plaster looks original and there is the usual “patina” that I’d expect to find.
She does have a cork pate, but I don’t know if it is original. Her ears are pierced through the lobe. Don’t you just love those round, rosy cheeks?
This body type is often called “chunky”, but her body is slim. It’s her arms and legs that are definitely chunky. No, her right wrist is not jointed, she has a tiny bracelet. Her body is composition and wood, with loose ball joints. As a person who always wears long or 3/4 sleeves to cover my “chunky” arms, I can handle this challenge.
The underwear she came in is too big and rather sad,
so I made her a new petticoat and split drawers from very fine swiss batiste and old lace. For the fashion history police out there, yes, I know that split drawers went out of fashion just before 1880, but I made them for her anyway. She needs a chemise and I’ve been waffling on what style to make. I want this first set of undies to be simple and will make fancier ones later.
After the chemise, I’ll start on her BLUE dress.
I really don’t collect French bebe dolls. I’ll have to do some rearranging to find the right place for her in my doll cabinet. She’s too big for the mignonette cabinet and doesn’t fit in well with the fashions either. My daughter teased me with, “sounds like a first-world problem”.
About the two-mojo thing, I’m trying to work it out. For now, I find sewing doll clothes to be a relief. It takes much less brain power and precision eyesight than the embroidery I’ve been working on. So it is quite relaxing.
I think that what will work best for me is to switch back and forth. We’ll see.