There are certain antique dolls that become available only very rarely, and of those dolls very few can boast the rare beauty and charisma that we, as doll collectors, value so dearly. This is truly one such bebe! If early French bebe dolls make your heart skip a beat, and if you just can’t resist antique dolls dressed in superb period appropriate costumes, you have landed on the right planet. This super fabulous early Schmitt bebe doll possesses all of the sought-after characteristics of the early Schmitt bebes and comes to us in superior condition for all of the years she has existed. With a face that will haunt your dreams for years to come and blue paperweight eyes that beg for your love and attention, she possesses that certain French “je ne sais quoi” that all collectors of fine antique dolls desire most.
She hails from one of the most respected and celebrated French doll firms which operated in Paris from 1854 t0 1891. This Bebe is the first bebe model produced by the company, following the trend of the day set by Francois Gaultier, Bru and Jumeau to produce dolls that represented actual children instead of adult looking poupees. In the period around 1876 to 1877, the first adverts for the Jumeau bebes are mentioned to be introduced at the Paris Exhibition of 1878. By 1879, most French manufacturers of dolls, followed suit and offered their own versions of the bebe doll. Many of the early Schmitt bebe heads were actually produced in the Jumeau factory. See pp 284 of the Jumeau Book by Francois Theimer and Florence Theriault.
This beauty has a bisque socket head on a fully jointed composition and wood ball jointed Schmitt body with straight wrists and distinctive flat bottomed buttocks. She has gorgeous blue paperweight eyes with painted upper and lower lashes, finely feathered brows, mauve eye-shadow, closed mouth with shading and accents and white space between the lips, pierced ears with antique faceted red glass bead earrings, original brown mohair wig, but also wearing a lovely blond French human hair wig in ringlet curls.
She is wearing an exquisite antique red velvet and silk couturier frock with a fitted frock coat and an ecru lace front panel (some age wear) three layers of antique white cotton underwear (needing minor alteration to fit her better), antique red net stockings and antique French brown leather shoes with silk rosettes. Her fabulous Victorian black straw hat is bedecked with black silk flowers and wonderful feathers in warm Burgundy tones. On the front of her dress she wears an antique Victorian gold filled brooch. WOW, what a magnificent doll!!
(In the shield shaped symbol)
On Body: (Similar Shield Emblem)
CONDITION: Generally Excellent. There is a very short ¼ inch rim split at the side crown rim behind the left ear from which the finest hairline extends about one inch. This can only be observed with magnification and trans-illumination but is so faint, it cannot be photographed with our finest equipment. Otherwise, her fabulous head is flawless! The pressed bisque head with very pale, glowing bisque, expert decoration of features, lovely shading and color, sensuous modeling of extremely compelling child’s face with the most beseeching and loving watery blue eyes having a slight oriental upturn to the outer corners. Her original Schmitt Bebe body is in excellent shiny original finish condition but there has been some repair to the upper right arm and left hand, and some minor retouch to areas where flaking has occurred. Her original wig is very attractive with medium length brown curls (it has been cleaned and restyled in the original manner). The additional wig is in clean and fine condition.
What can I say? Her aura is so powerful that one is compelled to bow in her presence as she is without a doubt a pure bred member of the French Aristocracy of Dolls! This is a magnificent larger version of this desirable French bebe. She is truly a doll collector’s DREAM COME TRUE!!!!!!! In perfect condition, this doll would normally command over $20,000.00, but due to her minor hidden hairline, I am offering her at just $12,500.
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27” Schmitt & Fils French Bebe With Long Face, Hypnotic Blue Paperweight Eyes, Original Flat-Bottom Signed Body circa 1879