Dominique Pennegues

In 1924, Clelia Maria Olivero and Almigar Brogi, whose dolls manufacturing company was located Coeuilly-Champigny, were pioneers in the development of "modern" French cloth doll "and yet CLELIA dolls remain little known of collectors.

In March 1924 Clelia Maria Olivero filed an interesting patent for a new way of producing cloth doll heads without resorting to traditional stuffing, but by superposing molded parts, and in 1926 Amilgar Brogi took a patent for a new cloth doll head and body. Almigar Brogi explained in his patent that the heads of cloth dolls usually consist of two parts, including the mask, with a seam on the side that is not aesthetic.

The manufacturer offered an head in one piece to avoid the seam on each side, as well as the vertical seam on the neck we find in most of the cloth dolls.

We have not had the opportunity to see the application of this patent on any Clelia doll, but, as our observation so far is limited to the production of Clelia dolls from the 30 's, it is possible that this method of doll making has been abandoned in the meantime.

However, the value of this patent resides mainly in the structure of the body of the doll, which molded bust (not stuffed) allows a more aesthetic of the shoulders neckline.

We did not find the application of this patent on Clelia dolls , but on many Raynal dolls from 1932, and some Venus dolls from the second part of the thirties. Le Printemps's Shirley Temple doll of 1935 and 1936 has also this type of body.

If we have not been able to find, so far, an example of a Clelia doll from the 20s which could be clearly identified, the reading of the 1930 Almanach du Commerce shows that the factory was successful in this production of cloth dolls, and also in the making of stuffed cloth animals.

The Clelia dolls production from the thirties was especially marked by the choice of a new supplier of molds for doll heads, which is obviously the same as the one selected for the production of Raynal , Venus and Nicette dolls during the same period .

The Clelia dolls from the early thirties have a molded felt head and a stuffed body like most of their contemporary fabric. An easy way to distinguish them from Venus and Raynal dolls from the same time is by observing the attachment of arms, which are attached to the body by a metal piece. Hands are stuffed cloth, or flat celluloid produced by Sté Petitcollin (also found on Nicette babies and dolls,  and few other productions).

Early in the thirties, Clelia used a new method for making some of their dolls heads. Masks are covered with a layer which gives the doll face the appearance of composition. It is only by looking at the raw neck of the doll that we can understand the heads are made of pressed felt.

During the same period, Clelia dolls appear on the market with an hard head whose neck is marked with a "C" inscribed inside a diamond.

 A same mold is used for both types of doll head with same stuffed cloth body. The big stores catalogs do not make the distinction between the two types of manufacturing, and indicate "composition head." The use of this material by Clelia coincides with the release on the market of some beautiful figurines made of composition. We have only found a single copy of these artistic creations up to date.

Clelia dolls from the second half of the thirties are enriched with a gold medal in metal representing a Raphael angel on the front, and "Clelia" marked on the back. Skin or moleskin shoes  have "Clelia" printed in gold letters on the  cardboard sole.

In 1938, a contract with Walt Disney Clelia allowed Clelia to market Snow White dolls and the seven dwarfs in two different sizes.

This interesting production will be the last major success for Clelia stuffed cloth dolls whose production will not resume after World War II.



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