Joyful and colored!  The world of the spectacle in toys

The Doll's Museum of Paris for six months, dolls and toys of yesterday and current relating to this fascinating world of the spectacle and the circus.

There is also, universes of the fair, the opera, the dance, the theater even the cinema.
There is also, universes of the fair, the opera, the dance, the theater even the cinema.
Dolls, figurines, marionettes with thread, with hand, with finger, magic lanterns, dancers, limp musical, machines, monkeys, dogs, cuddly elephants, objects in celluloid, masks. About 500 exceptional items   presented in decorations to the heavy red curtains suggestive of theatres.

 " Exhibition articulates in 3 axes of reading  :

Games conceived as spectacle for the children.

Toys, universe of the spectacle such dolls just like famous persons, persons of Commedia dell Arte, persons of circus.

Toys evoking the universe of the spectacle for the pleasure of the adults such artists' dolls or passionate persons of opera,  circus,  dance or theater. These are rather perceived as a cultural and aesthetic reference. "

                 Above , you see the extraordinary collection of Mrs SAINTOT, impassioned of operas,
               who dressed dolls according to the suits of the lyric heroes of operas.
            You can admire   Manon and  the Knight des Grieux.

The circus and its world

 its menagerie with impressive wild beasts, lions, tigers, or still elephants, sea lions, horses, monkeys, and also dogs  naturally ! whom  forgot the arrival of the circus in his(her) town with all its world to four paws, its brass band, its lively colours, its music so characteristic of this kind of entertainment!

The Clowns also: who are a part of the circus obviously and know how to make everything, play one or several instruments, be tightrope walkers, quite mad poets laughing the small and the big, taking care with Auguste with his  red nose and his big feet to turn in ridiculous the human generally by his comical jokes.

The magic universe of the circus was widely transposed into toys, more particularly the person of the clown under shape of doll. Very numerous manufacturers of dolls in the XIX and XX-th centuries created clowns in the colorful suits, in the multicolored make-ups, in the grotesque expressions. The usage to include in the wardrobe of the classic dolls a disguise of clown or  other  circasiens artists was also widely spread. Animals have, of their quoted served as model for bits of fluff  : monkeys, mechanical bears, elephants on roulettes.

Opposite : monkey Crämer circa 1920


    The characters of Commedia dell ' Arte

The main characters of  theater plays inspired by the Italian tradition are  : Harlequin, Pulcinella, Colombine, Pantalone. Some of them were declined in dolls, machines, marionettes or toys  , quite as other characters typically French such as Buffoon ( Do not confuse with "Maschera " neapolitan of Pulcinella ),  Pierrot or Scaramouche.

Pierrot, appears as a lunar servant, artless but honest, loving  of Colombine,  whose white suit is inspired with that of Pulcinella.

Harlequin, servant of Bergame in the multicolored and picturesque suit, his hat  does not cover completely the shaved skull, carrying out one thousand pirouettes and acrobatics. Worried about his monnay fastened to the belt, a beats being of use as a bludgeon.
 He is cunning and lively, cynical and rather immoral.
" Optimist, he always finds a solution of everything. Lazy, gourmand and philanderer, he also knows how to be kind and faithful. He is the favorite of the children, because, in many features, he looks like them. So, he is similar to the dog by his allegiance and obedience, to the monkey by his suppleness and to the cat by his autonomy and independence. Harlequin likes enjoying himself and making some spirit. "


Buffoon, stemming from the servant Pulcinella of Italian Commedia dell Arte has lively, derisive and cynical spirit. Aggressive, lying, rough and sometimes even cruel, " his greed is gluttony " .He is not as  his Italian homologue with double bump, one in front and the other one behind, a cocked hat sometimes decorated with some feathers and a black and brilliant mask.

Les marionnettes

The puppets, small figurines which one handles with sheath, wire or with stems are generally light and fragile. They exist for a very long time and are spread all over the world. They give place to always charming, lively and colored spectacles.

As the persons of Comedia dell Arte, puppets evolved in the time, getting closer to the daily of the human beings, the most known example being peasant Girolamo artless but wily Lombard which becomes Chignol in Lyons finally to metamorphose into "Guignol".

Guignol, french puppet, created in Lyons by Laurent Mourguet in 1808.
Nice person with wooden head takes a stand small people. He cries out social injustice, grazes of the inexhaustible eloquence the middle-class persons as the regional or national authorities. Delicious sound accent, his rebellious spirit, his rudeness, his passionate but good side child make of Guignol a popular and charming puppet. Today, the spectacles of Puppet theatre always attract crowds of delighted children. Always famous and celebrated in gardens and parks of big cities, he often possesses there the small theatre.

The magic lantern

The magic lantern which we know is the result of numerous variations during centuries. Ancestor of projectors, it became quickly popular. It was during centuries, the instrument of preference of the smooth talkers and the quacks, who exploited the credulity of the illiterate populations by feigning the appearance of monsters or ghosts. It was also realized enpetite size for the children who considered so at patches of glasses illustrated with little stories or with drawings.

Lanterns were also realized in small size for the children with patches illustrated with little stories or with drawings.


Here is so a brief outline of the marvels which wait for the guest in the Musée de la Poupée-Paris.
This one is always at the end of the impasse Berthaud in the nest of greenery.
 It welcomes young and old friends of the dolls from 10 hr till 18 hr
 every day except Monday and holidays.

Teléphone  : 01 42 72 73 11     Métro : Rambuteau



©Pictures by  D.Bugat-Pujol for POUPENDOL But the
photogaphed objects depend on the exposition, any reproduction, even
partial, is prohibited except prior agreement of the Musée de la Poupée-Paris