F.G. (François Gaultier)

Reproduction closed mouth, socket head (circumference 8 inches) from Byron mould on composition Byron French body 413.
Reproduced as a child doll. Dressed in salmon pink silk dress and bonnet with cream lace; socks knitted in silk, and cotton underwear. See below for further construction details.
Original doll by François Gaultier who made dolls in Paris from 1862-1899 (when the SFBJ was formed). There are 3 different types of FG marking (hence the auction descriptions of "FG in scroll" and so on describing the marks) but there is no satisfactory explanation for this. Gaultier supplied dolls for other makers and sometimes FG heads are found on bodies marked by other manufacturers; however none of the marked heads of Jullien, AT or RD resemble the painting or colours used on FG marked heads. [Mildred Seeley's Fabulous French Bébé, Pages 79 to 82]

I was pleased with the painting on this doll. The eyelashes are fairly even and the eyebrows by sheer serendipity came out a very nice colour and shiny; thus the doll has the right "look" (to me anyway). I think FG's can be quite difficult.
The dress was inspired by the dress shown in French Dolls in Colour by Patricia R Smith [Plate 77, Page 58]. I wanted to make the dress in exactly the same colours as the photograph - I have a few dupion silks in various shades of blue/grey. However two things changed my mind: firstly and most importantly, the blue/grey did not suit the doll's colouring and amazingly (I am not fond of pink), this silk looked right on her; secondly my liking for the photograph in the book stems from the combination of the blue/grey colour and a sort of brick red, which is in fact not part of the outfit but an award ribbon! One day I shall make a dress with that colour combination.....
I used the same Joan Nerini pattern used for the PD as a basis for the dress, but made it up quite differently. The bodice is cream dupion silk, and the sleeves and skirt sections are in pink. The sleeves are cut using the "sleeve lining" pieces of the pattern as I did not want such a puffed effect. For the skirt I pleated the pink fabric (about 3 times the bodice width) using my then latest acquisition from the Dolls House Draper. The pleater is a rubber form which pleats (somewhat labour intensively for the user) to a sort if corrugated effect rather than flat pleats; I caught up the hem in a simple way by hand which made the fabric flare a little. I attached the skirt to the bodice and then inserted the V-shaped inset at the front covered in lace. I then covered the bodice with lace, extending slightly below the waistline. To trim the dress I bought the smallest pearl buttons I could find and covered them with the silk, copying the buttons on the original. I have to admit that quite a lot of Allene's Tacky Glue ("accept no substitutes") was used in all this process.
The hat was taken from a poke bonnet pattern in Costume Cameos No.3 by Hazel Ulseth and Helen Shannon which was for a 13 inch doll but proved to be much too big. I stiffened it with a "horsehair" iron-on interfacing (used in making men's suits). It is lined with layers of pleated cream dupion and lace. The ribbon is in a flat double bow across the crown of the hat, and ties under the chin to one side; this is very stiff satin ribbon but it is vintage and looks OK I think, (better than the photo shows). The doll's wig is made from permed processed rope mohair in dark brown, applied on a shaped milliner's buckram base.
Socks are hand-knitted in silk cordonnet obtainable from the Gildebrief online shop (I think Little Trimmings also keeps a stock); the socks are knitted to a Joan Nerini pattern leaflet. The shoes are in brown gloving leather from a pattern in the workbooks by Lyn Alexander with cream silk rosettes and beads. The underwear is made of muslin (looseweave thin cotton), with petticoat and knickers decoratively pin-tucked and edged with lace.