Doll News Summer 2020 - 116

This 18-inch Huret
bisque poupee
with shoulder head
is unmarked, with
painted eyes and
original jointed gutta
percha body with
straight arms. Her
collarette is marked
"BREVET DYNV(?)
S.D.D.e.(?), MAISON
HURET, Boulevard
Montmatre, 22, PARIS
along with the symbol
of the 1855 Exposition
Universelle de Paris."
She is wearing an
original Madame
Farge dress and
original Huret shoes,
both marked "HURET
A PARIS." She is
shown with a beaded
Huret miniature table
marked "MEDAILLE
D'ARGENT, HURET, 22
Boulevd Montmatre,
PARIS, EXPON
UNIVERLLE 1867."

THE DOLL

Calixte got the idea of creating a doll from the 1844
Exposition. It took her many years to research, gather
information, design prototypes before she was ready to
launch her new doll onto the market. Calixte wanted
to make something that was completely different than
what was available at the time (dolls with stiff kid
bodies). She wanted to make a doll that the children
could identify with; with a flexible body that children
could easily dress/undress; that they could make clothes
for. She decided to make an 18-inch doll that had the
proportions of a 12-year-old girl (her target market). All
her dolls measured 18 inches (now they can be slightly
plus or minus that because the bodies have expanded or
contracted over time or have been replaced).
The majority of French doll makers in the second half
of the 19th century were body manufacturers or head
manufacturers or assemblers or retailers. From the start,
Calixte did not involve any third party in the sale of her
dolls - they could only be bought in the Maison Huret
shop in Paris - nowhere else. This was all part of her
wanting her dolls to be exclusive.
116

SUMMER 2020

The first doll was eventually achieved in December
1850, along with her patent (this was only the third
patent for a doll since the introduction of patents in 1791).
Also, the doll was marked HURET on the kid collarette,
making it the first doll ever signed. The first models were
only officially presented in 1852. At the 1855 Exposition
Universelle in Paris, Calixte Huret's doll was awarded a
second-class medal. This success was repeated in future
expositions and helped give her dolls the exposure they
needed. Her dolls were very expensive - they were time
consuming to make and there was a limited production
(on demand with a maximum of 1200 a year). Only the
richest families could afford them (compare this to the
approach of Rohmer, Huret's main competitor, who made
much larger numbers of various sizes and style of dolls
and targeted middle-class children).

THE BODY

After looking at a number of substances, Calixte chose
gutta percha. Whilst in the short term, that enabled her
to meet her objectives, it turned out to be quite fragile
in the medium/long term. The gutta percha dried out



Doll News Summer 2020

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