Montag, 26. März 2012


The webpage of the still existing  "Saxon porcelain manufactory of Carl Thieme zu Potschappel-Dresden" reads :
"The manufactory was founded in 1872 and is still keeping alive the long tradition of European porcelain art. Few skilful shapers and painters are manufacturing delicate porcelain items purely by hand."
"In the 19th century, there were many porcelain painters in Saxony who did their job at home and brought many new impulses to the traditional porcelain art. They creatively decorated white porcelain bought somewhere else. One of them, Carl Thieme, decided to manufacture his own white pieces. For this reason, he founded the today’s Saxon Porcelain Manufactory in Potschappel in the year 1872. On September 17th 1872 he began with the production of decorative porcelain and man-made porcelain. A broken wall bracket was registered as very first model."
 Please read more at :

The German firm of Carl Thieme produced a series of very fine half dolls, some of them with a lavishly done "Dresden flowers" decoration. The half dolls are generally unmarked. The book "The Half-Dolls with related items, makers and values, Vol. 3" written and published by Shona & Marc Lorrin, features an original old (1920s/1930s) catalogue page from Carl Thieme factory. These half doll books (Vol. 1-7) are truly a valuable source for collectors.

The half dolls are portraying Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, (16 April 1755 – 30 March 1842), who was a French painter, and is recognized as the most important female painter of the 18th century. The painting is known as "self-portait in a straw hat", done in 1782. Size of the dolls: 12 cm and 14 cm (4.75" and 5.5") in height, feathers included.

The painting shows Élisabeth of France (1764-1794) and was done by Vigée Le Brun in 1782. Élisabeth of France was known as Madame Élisabeth and was the youngest sister of Louis XVI and the sister-in-law of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Madame Élisabeth was guillotined, just like her relatives. Size: 12 cm (4.75") in height (the yellow hat of my doll is chipped!)

This half doll portays Princesse Lamballe (1749-1792, born Marie Louise of Savoy), a close friend and lady in waiting of French Queen Marie-Antoinette.

This half doll by Carl Thieme copies a figurine designed in about 1760 by Franz Anton Bustelli, who worked for renown German porcelain manufacturer NYMPHENBURG. The "Thieme lady" carries a basket filled with flowers. Size: 10.5 cm (4.1") in height

This Carl Thieme half doll obviously copies an early MEISSEN (full)figurine. The Meissen lady is holding a pug dog (known as: Dame vom Mops-Orden). The Thieme half doll lady carries a basket opulently filled with hand-formed "Dresden" flowers. 

A lovely Carl Thieme half doll lady holding a fan and a flower, size: 10.5 cm (4.1")

..... and two more of Carl Thieme`s beauties, height: 12 cm (4.75")

This is an exceptional large Carl Thieme half doll. The doll shows an amazingly fine molding and painting, a superb and scarce half doll. The doll measures:  19 cm (7.5") in height.

Montag, 19. März 2012


Josephine Baker (Freda Josephine McDonald) was born on June 3, 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was a dancer, singer and actress and one of the biggest stars of the Paris Music Halls. She was given such nicknames as “Bronze Venus”, the “Black Pearl” or the “Créole Goddess”.

Josephine Baker started her career as a chorus girl in an African-American revue in Philadelphia and also appeared at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1920s she was hired to work on the New York musical comedies Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Dandies, but her big break came when she went to Paris in 1925 in La Revue Nègre at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. For her debut at the Folies-Bergère, she wore a belt of bananas and sang ‘Yes, We Have No Bananas’. As one of the first black international stars she performed regularly at the Folies-Bergère and the Casino de Paris, as well as on numerous foreign tours.    
Josephine Baker died aged 68, on April 12, 1975. 

Please read more on WIKIPEDIA at : 

... and to be seen on YOUTUBE: Josephine Baker`s famous BANANA DANCE at the Folies-Bergère


This half doll representing JOSEPHINE BAKER was made by Fasold & Stauch of Bock-Wallendorf/Thuringia. A similar doll is illustrated in an original old catalogue of this Thuringian porcelain manufacturer. The doll in the catalogue is marked with incised number *7797*, while the doll in my photo bears the incised number *7794* (size: 7.4 cm/3" in height). The doll was made in two sizes with two different mold numbers, *7797* measures 5" in height. Half dolls representing Josephine Baker are coming rarely up for sale.

This figurine is in fact a half doll, not a full figurine. Both, the doll and the brown legs are sewed to a pin cushion, which is hidden under her original old bast skirt. The half doll legs with silver painted shoes are molded to a white porcelain base with an egg-shaped container (can be used as flower vase, for brushes, pencils or whatever). Her hair is painted in silver. The doll is identified as being made by Gebr. Heubach (Bros. Heubach) of Lichte/Thuringia. Height of the figurine is 16 cm/6.3". The figurine is very scarce, particularly in this complete and "all original" condition. (THANKS, DANNY!)

Montag, 12. März 2012


Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, better known by the stage name : MATA HARI, was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan and accused spy, whose name has become a synonym for the seductive female spy. She was born on August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands and  executed on October 15, 1917 by a French firing squad under charges of spying for Germany during World War I. The nature and extent of her espionage activities (double agency) remain uncertain, and her guilt is widely contested.

Please read more on WIKIPEDIA at:

Fasold & Stauch, who was located in Bock-Wallendorf/Thuringia manufactured a series of half dolls in different sizes portraying Mata Hari. The black/white photo is an excerpt of an old Fasold & Stauch catalogue, showing one of their Mata Hari dolls alongside with a doll portraying Josephine Baker.  The catalogue page shows primarily Art Deco ladies; therefore I would date it to about 1920-1925.

Bruno Schmidt of Waltershausen/Thuringia, a well-known producer of dolls and half-dolls, made this lovely Mata Hari half doll about 1920-30. The doll is marked with his "heart mark".

Three photos are taken from the book THE HALF DOLL by Shona & Marc Lorrin, Vol. 7

BEWARE! The blonde half doll is antique and probably a Mata Hari half doll made by Weiss, Kühnert & Co./Thuringia (described in a Weiss, Kühnert & Co. catalogue as Arabian dancer). The reproductions and fakes in the photo (number 1,2,3)are recently made in Thuringia from re-worked original molds (forms) and showing up with a golden or silver brassiere as well as INCISED mold numbers.  
Shona & Marc Lorrin, author of a series of books on half dolls “The Half dolls and related items, makers and values, Vols.1-7)” described the difference between antique and these repros and fakes in their book Vol. 7 as following: 
“The original models all had bras painted in (dull) gold (some were fired and some were cold painted); NONE of the originals had silver bras and NONE had the split arm bracelet seen here."
Apart from that, NONE of the original half dolls shows both, a painted red lid line AND a painted eye shadow; NONE of the original antique  Mata Hari half dolls was made with a bird or parrot molded to the hand. NONE of the antique half dolls shows such a plump and clumsy bird molded to the hand, arm, shoulder or whatever. 
The Mundial Company from Belgium recently copied the Thuringian Mata Hari repros and fakes. The collectors` markets and eBay auctions are now “overflooded” with these Mata Hari repro/fake dolls with a golden or silver brassiere, sew-holes and no holes in the base, incised numbers to imitate the genuine antique German dolls, some with a feather in the hair springing out of a hole in the head etc. etc. 
The statement of the German/Thuringian reproducer/repro dealer (owner of a large number of original Weiss, Kühnert & Co. molds/forms, who sells reproductions and fakes on eBay as "old" or "antique"): "after 1922 it was forbidden in Germany to produce Mata Hari figurines" can  be considered to be a "laughingstock".

Article of a German magazine "Revue of the month,  Juli 1927" on female spies

Dienstag, 6. März 2012


The half doll is from a series of excellent done medieval half dolls by Dressel & Kister of Passau. She shows a molded golden hairband with raised purple “jewels”. The dark-grey hair is twisted to a chignon at the backside and it is painted with finest white streaks. She measures 10.5 cm (4.1”) in height and is marked inside the base with the blue bishop`s crozier as well as "Germany".

This nude dancer (or bathing beauty) striking a known Dressel & Kister pose is likewise from their medieval series. These dancing ladies were made in china porcelain and in bisque in a variety of sizes. The dancer has a hole in the ball of each foot, which fit over supporting rods in a (wooden) base/stand. The wooden base is quite often lost to the time. The molding of the figurine, particularly the muscular body and the painting are excellent and very fine done. These figurines are commonly UNMARKED (no incised number and no bishop`s staff).

This is a similar dancing lady made by Dressel & Kister, but she is dressed in a molded harem outfit with turban and slippers. The figurine retains it original wooden stand. The figurine shows excellent molded features and painting is all over amazingly fine done. She measures 30 cm (11.8") in height without the stand. The figurine is unmarked.

BEWARE! On the first glance this figurine appears to be made by Dressel & Kister, but this it is definitively NOT a Dressel & Kister figurine! This is a modern reproduction resp. a copy molded to a blue ball with painted golden stars. These figurines are made in "low cost" quality with a "poor" molding and "blurred" painting. "Clumsy" features rather than finest manufactured features. The figurine is marked with an incised mark 581625 under the base, most likely to create the appearance of an "antique German figurine". These kind of figurines are supposed to be MADE IN CHINA. They are just making their appearance on eBay (Belgium, France and Germany etc.). ORIGINAL dancing figurines from Dressel & Kister / Passau are NOT molded to a "kitschy" ball. They either have a wooden stand or a round base made of porcelain (for those made in the largest size).