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Early French Suede Faced Dolls



I received these photos from Sue with the following information:

"This embroidered chamois (suede) faced doll was created by Polish artist, Fryda Frankowska (see faint signature on foot), in the mid to late 1910s, in France. These type of dolls appear to be the precursor to the boudoir doll.

According to Coleman’s Doll Encyclopedia, Frankowska made dolls in France from 1916-18. Dolls of this nature were made by several people during World War I.

The Coleman’s Encyclopedia states the group at Stefania Lazarska's workshop comprised of several hundred and were referred to as "La Groupe Polonaise," under direction of Marie Mickewiewicz . Madame Paderewski financed and publicized the work of these artists. Indeed, it seems that Paderewski’s involvement was mostly in the US and the years are from 1915-18.

Coleman's states that in 1918, the group working from the Lazarska workshops had grown too large for one address and the "Ateliars Artistiques" (Artistic Workshops) was set up in another part of Paris. The workshops continued to make dolls after the war.

This doll differs from other known Frankowska dolls in that her arms and legs are attached with plain buttons of the era and her hair is made of wool, not silk which shows the diversity of the doll-maker.

The doll's construction also shows a move away from child-like depictions of dolls. The head tilted to side and is not engaging the viewer; an artistic touch. The enlarged embroidered lips are more in keeping with adult dolls, in that they are more sensual.

The only doll that shares a connection to this doll is adult suede headed embroidered features one given as comparison. Although clearly she is an adult doll, she has same articulated limbs made of same polished cotton with buttons marked 'Depose', her hands have the same paddle construction.

I'm not suggesting the doll are from the same maker only that they share similarities that indicate they have similar methods of construction which suggests the makers knew of each other’s work.

Another interesting aspect is the signed foot which continued to be a way for doll makers to label their work. This method was continued by other doll makers."

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