Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lenci dolls

I have three Lenci dolls in my collection. They all date from the 1980s.

The Lenci doll manufacturing company began as a workshop 1919 and was the brainchild of Madame Lenci (a shortened form of Elena Konig Scavini's nickname of Helenchen.)  Lenci is famous for the use of felt to create soft and almost animated faces. Oil paints were used to create the distinctive side glancing eyes and pouty lips. While the name Lenci is most often associated with Turin, Italy, dolls made in the 1930s were often made in Madame Lenci's German workshop.  Lenci dolls made before 1940 are the most valuable of the Lenci collection as their production was presided over by Madame Lenci herself and have the best craftsmanship.

From the 1950s until the 1970s, Lenci produced porcelain and celluloid dolls and sold old felt stock with new costumes. New felt dolls were produced in the 1970s. For more about the history of Lenci, I recommend the book Lenci: The History and the Dolls by Nancy Lazenby.

In my Lenci collection are the "twins" Aurelia and Bettina. Both dolls are about 13 inches tall and both wear felt dresses with pockets in which they have placed a soft toy "pet."  Aurelia's is a goose, and Bettina's is a rabbit. Bettina wears a blue dress, and Aurelia's is pink. They both have blonde, curly hair made of a soft man-made fibre and can stand independently.

My other Lenci doll is a bride doll named Bibija. She is a large example of a Lenci doll, being 24 inches tall. She is number 433 of 499 dolls made. She, too, is made of felt and has beautiful soft blonde hair made of an amazing manmade fibre. Bibija is a boudoir-style doll, that is, she can't stand on her own. Her legs are quite soft and she's more suited to being placed on a chair or on a bed.

Sadly, after World War 2, quality and production went into decline and the Lenci workshop closed in 2002. Still, a doll made in the 1970s or 1980s will make a fine addition to your doll collection, especially if you have a "soft spot" for cloth dolls.

No comments:

Post a Comment