Samstag, 24. Dezember 2011

MADAME MOLÉ-RAYMOND - pretty actress of the Comédie Française

“The Lady with the Muff”, the famous portrait of Madame Molé-Raymond, the pretty actress of the Comédie Française, is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755 – 1842). Vigée Le Brun was a French painter, and is recognized as the most famous female painter of the 18th century. She served as a portrait painter to the French Queen Marie-Antoinette. The painting of Molé-Raymond (née Élisabeth-Félicité Molé - 1760-1833)was done in 1786, and bequeathed in 1865, by Mademoiselle Maurice Raymond, a daughter of the lady represented, to the Louvre in Paris, where it still hangs.

The painting of the laughing pretty woman, who wears a broad brimmed hat trimmed with a rosette and feather, holding up a huge muff with both hands buried in its depths, and long curling hair flying out in streamers, was an excellent object to create excellent half dolls. None of the half dolls was manufactured with a muff; probably it was left to the owner to take a piece of fur and to craft a muff for his/her doll.

More paintings by Vigée Le Brun can be seen at :

Ernst Bohne Söhne (Sons) of Rudolstadt/Thuringia manufactured the very best rendition of the lady in the painting, an amazing half doll made in excellent quality.  Even the shape of the face, the blushed cheeks, the brown eyes and the smiling mouth are similar to that of Molé-Raymond. The half doll measures an impressive height of 18 cm (7") - from base to top of the feather - and is unmarked.

This half doll representing Molé-Raymond was made by Dressel & Kister of Passau / Bavaria and is likewise a very good rendition. She has a hole in the brim of her hat for a feather made of porcelain and attached to the hat. The porcelain feather was not molded to the hat, but is removable. I have never seen any of this dolls with the original factory-made feather; usually it is "lost to the time". The half doll shows the tapered base to find on the majority of Dressel & Kister half dolls. The dolls need a (self-made) support to help them standing upright. She is of excellent quality, measures 10.5 cm (4.1") in height and is marked with the blue bishop's crozier.

Carl Thieme of Potschappel / Dresden made the fine quality half doll lady with pink hat, which is supposed to be a  portait of Molé-Raymond. The feather atop of her hat is turned to the right side, contrary to that in the painting and she doesn`t have the long floading hair, but a "short hairstyle".  The doll measures about 16 cm (6.3") in height (including the feather) and is marked in front of the base with an incised number. Carl Thieme produced a series of very fine half dolls, some of them based on the paintings by Vigée-Le Brun. These dolls will be introduced in a forthcoming post.

.... and a variation made in bisque porcelain. This "Molé-Raymond" half doll lady was made in fine bisque quality by A.W.Fr. Kister of Scheibe-Alsbach. This half doll was also made in china porcelain. Several manufacturers produced few of their dolls in both variations, bisque and china porcelain. The doll is unmarked and measures 14.5 cm (5.75") in height (including the feather).

Montag, 12. Dezember 2011


If there is a costume that symbolizes a region of France, it is well and truly the Alsatian costume.
However, this refers mainly to the traditional costumes of the Alsatian women, particularly their imposing headdresses, the distinctive “coiffes” = caps adorned with large bows. The “coiffes” are very decorative and most likely this was the reason that several German porcelain manufacturers created half dolls representing Alsatian women in their traditional costumes.
  • No. 1 is by A.W. Fr. Kister, 6.5 cm (2.5") tall
  • No. 2 is by Galluba & Hofman, 12.3 cm (approx. 5") tall. She wears a fringed scarf with fine painted pink roses and green leaves which creates the appearance of embroidery.
  • No. 3 is by Wm. Goebel of Oeslau/Bavaria, 11.5 cm (4.5") tall. Painting is done in blue delft style.  
  • No. 4 is by Wm. Goebel. She measures an impressive height of 16 cm (6.3"). The bracelet and necklace is not original to the doll.
  • No. 5 is by Fasold & Stauch, 11.2 cm (4.4") in height. The lady is holding a wine glass
The corselet which is laced in front is part of the traditional costume and  to find on all of the dolls. All of the dolls (except of no. 5) are holding a pink or red rose.

As per statement of various webpages on Alsatian traditional costumes:
The bow cap was always black for the Protestants; the headdresses of Catholics were often colorful and decorated with patterns. Also, the color of the bow cap reflected the state of its wearer (girl or woman, unmarried, married or widowed).

The Alsatian region is well known for its tasty local cuisine and its locally grown wines.

Samstag, 10. Dezember 2011


The half doll for the third Advent Sunday is a half doll covered with "snow" just like the cute porcelain figurines known as "snow babies". The photo shows the half doll along with a snow baby figurine, a girl with a snow-covered sweater sitting on a sled. These "snow" particles were made of crushed bisque, than applied to the surface of the figurine and fired.

The half doll girl is made in bisque porcelain by Galluba & Hofmann of Ilmenau / Thuringia. It is quite obvious that Galluba & Hofmann made the half doll from a mold of one of their full figurines. They molded the upper part of the body to a half doll base. The result is a very scarce half doll. The full figurine is pictured in the wonderful book by Mary Morrison: " BIG BOOK of SNOW BABIES "
Mary’s webpage can be found at:

The half doll girl with blonde curls carries a bundle of sticks upon her back. Her dress is partly covered with dark blue snow (looks black in the photos rather than blue). Other parts are covered with white snow which has darkened with the years. "Snow loss" is rather common to find on this figurines. The doll is unmarked and is 9.5 cm / 3.75” tall.


Sonntag, 4. Dezember 2011


My little grandson painted his wish list for Father Christmas. He would like to get many new toys, a fire department with a fire truck and fire fighters. Well, Christmas and TOYS for the children ..... A good idea to show a half doll lady with HER TOY.

This half doll depicts an Art Deco lady holding a Polichinelle or Punch. The little Punch doll is done with great care for lovely details. Too cute!

Polichinelle is a classical character that originated in the Commedia dell'Arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry.
Many regional variants of Pulcinella were developed as the character diffused across Europe. In Germany, Pulcinella came to be known as Kasper and in France Polichinelle, while in the United Kingdom he inspired the character of Mister Punch of Punch and Judy.

Nice photos of Polichinelle are to be seen at:

The half doll is made in excellent quality by Fasold & Stauch of Bock-Wallendorf / Thuringia, who was a prolific manufacturer of half dolls, powder boxes and bathing beauties. She is marked with an incised number beginning with 6xxx at the backside of the base; unfortunately two digits are pierced and illegible. This doll measures 12.5 cm (5”) in height. It was made in two sizes.