Friday, May 18, 2012

Hello everyone....I though I would share our French Court Doll on the blog.
I have always wanted a antique French court doll for many years but since it has not happened, I decided to finally go ahead and try to make one for myself.
I am still a bit surprised now good this doll turned out. I have never made a first time doll of anything that I would not change a thing on.
I was in the studio the night I finished dressing the doll, looking at him/her up close and at a distance and it really fools even my eyes into thinking I am looking at a antique.
It took us making quite a few English woodens before I got one that I was 100% pleased with. I never though I could successfully make a court doll, which is why I never tried even though I have though about it for years. I am the type that if I can do it really well, with nearly perfect results and to the highest possible skill level, then I don't want to do it at all.
The doll looks so much like a antique that anyone would be hard pressed to tell it is not....not even owners of the antiques.....Quite a few of the people I have sent photos to including a friend who is an owner of a antique French court doll, a museum curator I know and antique dealer friends have written back saying, how on earth did you manage to get one? Where did you find one to buy?
 Of course when they find out we made the doll, we have had some wonderful compliments and comments....

"I am in awe! She/He truly deserves to be seen!"
"This doll, which I will call your lovely person, is an absolute and total triumph!!"
"Oh my David, I just got chills looking at her magnificence!! She is so amazing and every detail is past wonderful!"
"I can't believe this is not a antique"
"This doll is just incredible! It looked great undressed but it's absolutely amazing dressed, (much nicer than the originals by the way), you should be very pleased."
"Wow, wow, wow!!! I am amazed David, she/he is incredible. The doll is looking so splendid, the underdress is superb. I love it, completely antique in every way! The patina is so wonderful. The open robe is one of the most beautiful I have seen. Thank you again for sharing these incredible images!"
"Oh my gosh, you did and AMAZING job here. I have one so I know how they should look. Really nice....the detail and depth of your carving, painting and patina is just right."
"Oh my gosh, you guys, this is beautiful. You have the fabrics and trim just right....and I love the hat"

I am very pleased with the hat and the patina I was able to create on it to match the doll and dress perfectly.
The body type and construction / carving and anatomy on our doll is identical in every way to several of many of the antique French court dolls which were representing cross dressers, having a female bust, very high and looking like two half grapefruits plunked on and male genitalia.
There were also the royal family dolls (Marie Antoinette, Louie XVI and XVII, Princess Lambella) which were more flattering portraits and anatomically male or female. Also court ladies and men, both anatomically male or female, and the odd looking, unattractive little dwarf like court dolls and the more elaborate hermaphrodite court dolls as well. Many of the dwarf looking ones were also hermaphrodites.
It is our opinion, looking at the antique court dolls from a doll makers perspective such as ours, its quite clear that many of them were made by puppet makers and used that way, as they are constructed just like puppets with looped wires connecting the joints. There is even one old black and white photo of one of the court ladies, which is very similar to our doll, with her puppet strings still attached and hanging by them. Makes perfect sense if they were used as entertainment in naughty puppet shows to entertain the royals and members of the court.
Hope everyone enjoys the photos...I have not included the undressed photos or under the dress photos and of course if you are familiar with French court dolls, then you know why ;o)

As always, if you would like to view the photos larger than the annoying slide show, right click on each of them and open in a new window for a large detailed image.


  1. Well I can see why people were fooled. Having read and re-read François THEIMER's book on the topic and dwelt on the photos I too am in awe at your French Court doll. You have done an incredibly authentic job. Congratulations. I could rave on and on but really all people need do is look at your pictures. They speak for themselves.
    : )
    Oh you mentioned one doll with strings attached... - can you direct me to the photo? I'd love to see that. I'd always understood there was no evidence of their use as stringed marrionettes. But their construction certainly looked like that. I wonder if the strings were added later?
    And I wonder how their construction differed from other french wooden dolls of the period - must be time for more research.

  2. Wow! She is fabulous!!! Your work never ceases to amaze me!