I’m not Catholic, but I was enchanted by this tiny, French fashion doll representing Sainte Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. So I bought her.
Ste. Genevieve was born in the 5th century AD and saved Paris from an invasion by Atilla the Hun by getting everyone to pray.
Why did I buy her?
- Well just look at her.
- Paris is my most favorite city and DH and I are taking SG to Paris this Spring.
- She’s a French fashion doll.
- She’s little, only 8″ (20.5 cm) tall.
- Even though I won’t redress her, I would love to copy her costume for another doll.
How’s that for justifying the purchase of a doll? Pretty good, huh?
Let’s check her out. She has a bisque head on a kid body.
Her body is in like-new condition since she’s never been undressed. She has cotton undies and a petticoat under her dress with lace that matches the lace on her dress.
Her hands have had a rough life. Her individually stitch fingers are wired and at some time in her life someone has played with the index finger on her left hand and broken it off. On her right hand, I wonder if the rust spot once sported a ring.
Dolls with eyes that are not aligned always pose a dilemma. Is she cute enough with her slightly askew eyes or should I reset them? In this case, I definitely think she’s cute enough.
When considering whether or not to reset, it’s important to judge if the eyes match. Are the pupils and irises the same size and color? If not, there’s no way to make them look okay without replacing them.
Luckily, my Ste. Genevieve’s baby blue paperweight eyes match each other.
And if I pose her just so, she looks just fine.
She has a long blonde mohair wig, topped by a gilt metal crown that’s sewn to her head. I wonder if at one time her wig was braided.
The back of her silk satin dress shows the original color with the red and blue stripes which are the colors of Paris.
There are faded hints of the patriotic colors on the sleeves.
Her dress and satin shoes are trimmed with red and blue striped ribbons.
The front of the dress is stamped with a decal with the coat of arms of Paris. Notice that her crown matches the one on the coat of arms.
One of her shoes is missing its sole, but on the other is a tiny label from the Paris store of long ago, A La Recompense, and reads, JOUETS (toys) and the store’s address, 34 Rue du 4 Septembre.
I was able to gently pry her wig off without doing damage to see inside her head and to see her tiny cork pate.
There are two things that mystify me about her:
Who made her? She is marked on the back of her head with only a “4”. My first thought is that she was made by Gaultier, but could she be a Jumeau?
The second mystery is the way she is made. She doesn’t have a shoulder plate. The neck of her kid body is stuffed into her head and there are remnants of old glue on it. Her head swivels and is a bit wobbly now, so I wonder if it was glued in place originally. Have you every seen a body/head like this?
When we visit Paris, I’m planning to go on a small Ste. Genevieve pilgrimage by visiting the Pantheon (originally built as a monument to her) and visiting her tomb at the nearby church, Saint Etienne du Mont.
For now, Sainte Genevieve lives at my house.