In 1998 the" Cercle privé de la Poupée " has diffused with its members a communication

of Madame Anne-Marie POROT

on this extremely rare doll, auctioned to Drouot,

 on June 19, 1998, under the number 29.

We thank her very warmly for having authorized the publication  below. 


Poupée Leverd  - Drouot 1998
Photo Porot
 In the catalog of 1998 Gérard ETIENBLED, Expert, present it so:

« " Rare and very beautiful doll French model of Alexandre LEVERD - head in biscuit of a great quality and an exceptional relief - closed mouth, blue eyes in sulphide - mobile head on bust characterized by a cut in retreat on the summit of the head allowing " the inlay " of the wig.

Very beautiful original body of wooden covered with skin, forearms in biscuit..

Original Clothes  and suitcase with magnificent sunshade, handle and extremities of the ivory whales.

A model of this very rare doll model was in the  prestigious Dina Vierny's collection.

A copy of the Patent deposited in the Special Office of the Patents of the Ministry of Agriculture,  Business and Civil Engineerings on May 3, 1869 will be handed to the purchaser. "

N.B An article with photos was besides dedicated to this doll by the expert François Theimer in the volume 5 of his Encyclopedia Polichinelle.

Three remarks are necessary for this doll:

1 °) Really, it was not a doll Leverd strictly speaking. LEVERD was a manufacturer of gutta - percha; if he patented well the doll, we do not think that he was able to make her.  Nevertheless LEVERD did not credibly make dolls , what had been for him a too small outlet. On the other hand, would the patented dolls LEVERD have  not been able  to be made by HURET ?

2 °) This doll had no eyes of sulphide but crystal, a beautiful blue of type Lauscha.

3 °) The body was not wooden but in gutta - percha, as describes in the patent aimed above, what was moreover confirmed by Gérard ETIENBLED at the time of the sale. We could moreover see the gutta - percha in the top of the arm, on a worn part..

It does not make any doubt that this doll corresponds exactly to the audit patent deposited by the Leverd and Cie :  in this one, joints in particular, are very well described and very complex. Under the leather was inserted well some tissue to retain the gutta - percha which" desappears after a certain time  its properties of flexibility and elasticity, becomes crumbly and breaks under the effect of shocks. One is so obliged to obtain less fragile toys, to use this material under a strong thickness, what adds an useless and expensive weight because one does not obtain from it more desirable solidity. " 

I
t would seem nevertheless that it was good method because the rare dolls known for this type are still in good condition. The patent well explains so and perfectly this advantage:
" By the effect of the warmly moulding  of the gutta - percha with the tissue, that one penetrates into the pores of this last one and forms only a quite susceptible to an extreme flexibility which time can not distort. This treatment by the moulding of the gutta - percha between two tissues, or even  only one, allows us not only to make light, supple dolls and big solidity, but still offer us big advantages to the artistic point of view ...... more dolls possess the advantage to take all the positions, to make all the gestures and movements which can execute the human body ."

I
ndeed, at the level of shoulders, a sphere fixed to a metal cartridge allowed the rotation of each of the arms, thighs were connected with the body by a bolt and elbows and knees turned around a kneepad.
Dessin en couleurs du Brevet
Photo Porot

Photo Etiembled dans  catalogue
 Drouot
 These various joints  were middle - part in metal, wooden middle - part, flooded in the gutta - percha. The whole gathered so that arms could carry out a gyrating movement "  very pronounced ...... to cross on the breast without being hampered  in their movement or to leave any space around the joint in some position that one places them there....... on each side of the trunk we arranged two fobs filled with absorbent cotton which lend themselves perfectly to all these movements and hide so the space which mobile parts leave among them in certain positions.... The joint of thighs...... According to the angle that form among them two circular flat surfaces " is such as when the doll sits " position is not unsightly as it, is all it what possess a joint which, at first sight, seems similar to ours."

The gutta - percha was used for its thoughtlessness and its capacity to be molded " with one or several tissues. We gain light, supple dolls and of very big solidity but besides this tissue the doll generally is covered with a skin the happy disposal of which makes that every plan of joint is hidden by a small covering so that illusion is complete. "


This doll presented to Drouot very also had cut on the head, sort  of depression in hollow which " follows exactly the outline of the root of hair indicated in the patent " to embed a skin forming wig so that the birth of the hair is to appear the remaining level of the round  bulge. It results from this disposal a continuous surface on which the comb can slide without trying any obstacle, whatever is the direction according to which one leads .

We abolish so in this way, the main causes of the deterioration of the wig and furthermore we benefit from the adhesion of the hair which, naturally, is of much superior to that of the hair on the tulle ".

Here the wig in mohair was reported, but there were indeed still some hairs of origin implanted in the skin stuck inside the reserved distant cavity.


Everything corresponded to the patent put deposited by the LEVERD company. Nevertheless LEVERD did not credibly make dolls, what had been for it a too small outlet. On the other hand, would the patented doll LEVERD have - not been able to to be made by HURET ?

Indeed, HURETt, in this same time, already made dolls models in gutta - percha molded, according to the patents which had put deposited Mademoiselle Huret in 1850 and 1861. The House was equipped well to make dolls in this building material which one had to buy ....at LEVERD !

To support our hypothesis we found in Maree Tarnowska " Fashion Dolls's " book, page 127, a doll which has all the characteristics of dolls Leverd. It  concerns the breast the plug Huret. The head of this doll, that one can see dressed page 37, is well invoice HURET. One can not assert it as " doll Leverd " that of Drouot. However one well finds the shape of eyes with a light bourrelet palpéral and the lower part of the face - chin and the neck - of style Huret. It is completely plausible that Huret created a model of face for the doll patented by Leverd. Huret had, since about 1864, a factory of china in Isle Adam and made the own heads of dolls. One can suppose that LEVERD would have granted to HURET the manufacture of the dolls which he had patented....

In the collection Dina Vierny presented to the sale of Sotheby of October, 1996, in n ° 547, represented a similar doll awarded wrongly to KUBELKA. The body of this doll was in accordance well with the patent put deposited by LEVERD, and the head is identical to that of the doll presented to Drouot. No plug indicated on the body, only BSGDG  ( Breveté Sans Garantie Du Gouvernement = Patented Without Guarantee Of the Government ) behind the head.


We are so in the presence of three really identical dolls a door of which marks  HURET. The one who carries this plug HURET would it have been able to see the head replaced by HURET exactly who would have then put in it the plug?... I  do not think it because if one examines closely these three dolls, we find the same wide neck, the same shape in the ruffle and the same arms and the hands. For us, it is a solid hypothesis : dolls patented by the LEVERD company were probably made and commercialized by HURET.

A.M. POROT

Détail du dessin du brevet montrant les
articulations et le bourrage d'ouate.
Photo Porot


Sources :

-Catalog of sale Drouot-Richelieu Paris in June 19, 1998 - M°M ° POULAIN and LE FUR,  Expert G.Etienbled.
-Catalog of Sotheby's sale, collection Dina Vierny - London 17 and in October 18, 1996.
-Patent n ° 85.557 - May 3, 1869 - M.M. LEVERD and CIE - I.N.P.I -(Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle Paris)
- Poupées articulées - Brevets d'invention (Articulated Dolls - Patents)  1850-1925 - J. POROT - Paris 1982
- Fashion Dolls - Marre Tarnowska - HHP 1986
- Encyclopedia Polichinelle, n ° 5 , 1997, François Theimer


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