Darling 17” Closed Mouth Kestner in Sweet Silk Frock - image 1 of 15

An excellent doll for the collector interested in early Kestners with that most desirable pouting expression and on an original earlier Kestner body. She makes a darling presentation in her silk bebe frock and felt hat, her wonderful brown leather shoes, and her curly blond mohair wig! Don't hesitate to add this adorable cabinet ready pouty to your collection!

This beautiful German girl of the 1880s was produced by the German firm of J.D. Kestner, aka, "The King of Dollmakers," during the heyday of doll-making. The early closed mouth German Bebes were produced to compete with the French innovation of switching from adult looking dolls, like the French poupees to the new "au-courant" bebe dolls. The German doll producers were competing in the world marketplace for a cut of the growing doll demand developing in the rapidly industrializing countries, particularly the USA, Canada. Many of the dolls were produced for the French and American trade. Being the fierce competitors that they were, the German's effectively undercut the French producers by making dolls of comparable value to the French dolls and with comparable appeal to the buyers, but producing them at a much lower cost, thereby taking a significant cut of the local and International market (ie--the American market). Eventually they toppled the French market by 1899 when most of the French doll producers had to consolidate into the SFBJ in order to remain viable. Ironically the first director of the SFBJ was German.

With the test of time we see now that the German dolls of this period had sturdier bodies than did the French dolls. So, if you are looking for a beautiful antique bebe doll that won't have the body issues that so many of the French bebe dolls have, this is a doll that will probably withstand another 140 years of wear. This lovely Kestner pouty was one of the popular German bebes that stole the hearts of many doll buyers of the day. And I must confess, that she has stolen mine as well. Today, these German bebes are highly prized for their beautiful bisque heads, exquisite expressions and wonderfully crafted sturdy bodies! And priced at a fraction of the cost of a French bebe of the same period, it's no wonder that so many collectors of today seek out the Kestner pouty bebes like this one!

And she is also available on layaway if you need more time to pay for her. She is definitely worth the wait.
She has a perfect bisque socket head with brown sleep eyes, painted upper and lower lashes, stacked flat brows, and a closed mouth with shading and accents. She stands at 17” tall on her original straight-wristed Kestner body, and wears a fluffy blond mohair wig in a short, curly style.

She is dressed in a beautiful antique-style bebe frock made of paisley-patterned silk, woven with forest green and orange threads. The frock features a pointed collar, a cream-colored triangular silk front with buttoned placket, and a dropped waist, with a pleated sash and a pleated skirt. The sleeves, collar, front piece, and top of the skirt are trimmed with cream-colored lace. Underneath, she wears a white cotton full slip with lace trim and a pair of pink cotton pantaloons. On her feet are a pair of white knit stockings and brown leather shoes with brown rosettes. Topping off the ensemble is a moss green felt hat, with a large brown silk rosette. Such a delightful presentation for this girl!

MARKS: 8 [incised, back of head]

CONDITION: Generally EXCELLENT! Wonderful finest quality Kestner bisque with delicately painted features, well modeled face with desirable closed, pouting mouth and lovely original brown sleep eyes. She has some pepper spots, including a visible spot near her mouth. The body is in sturdy condition with some repainting to the torso and the tops of the thighs, with some chipped paint on the inside of one hand. A very sweet closed-mouth Kestner! A real darling in the perfect cabinet size with the sweetest pouting expression! A SUPER DOLL!!

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Kathy Libraty's Antiques

Darling 17” Closed Mouth Kestner in Sweet Silk Frock

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