Trousseaux steal the show at ‘Looking Glass’ event

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Theriault’s July 15 auction event, “As in a Looking Glass,” drew collectors from around the globe to San Antonio for a presentation of rare and highly sought after dolls, automata, and accessories. Many highly desirable dolls were presented, and among them, it was the impressive dolls with sumptuous trousseaux that captivated the audience and brought some of the highest bids.

The intricate costumes and accessories were as lavish and extensive as the trunk and

French bisque

Circa 1867 French bisque wooden-bodied poupee with extensive trousseau in original labeled trunk. Photo courtesy Theriault’s

trousseau featured alongside the French bisque wooden bodied poupee in lot #56. The doll, circa 1867, was presented from an original chateau estate in La Bourboule in the Auvergne region of central France. Her extensive original couturier trousseau included 14 extraordinary gowns, 10 bonnets, various blouses and jackets, coat, extensive undergarments, long train petticoats, small accessories, and her original trunk which bears the shipping label from Nantes La Bourboule on its side.

Of special note was the “Album de la Poupee” with 12 early sepia miniature tipped-in photographs of poupees in fashionable costumes (the earliest known commercial photographs of dolls) that was included in the trousseau. Selling for $36,000, the doll and trousseau left a lasting impression on collectors fortunate enough to see them in person.

An exceptional porcelain lady, circa 1850, who was accompanied by an elaborate trunk and trousseau containing original hand-stitched couturiere costumes, bonnets, and accessories all in superb condition, fetched an impressive $16,500. The doll may be considered a precursor to the classic French bisque poupee. The original trunk held its original paper label.

A German paper mache doll, circa 1860, named “Hattie” that had been owned by the young Harriet Simonds of Franklinville, New York, who died in 1863 at the age of 16. To pass the time during her invalid years, she sewed for her doll, creating an extensive wardrobe of costumes and accessories. The doll was sold from the collection of Jean Strong along with provenance documents for $8,750, more than five times the high end of its presale estimate.

Founded in 1970, Theriault’s is the largest auction house in the world dealing exclusively in antique dolls, toys, and teddy bears. For more information on the firm and its events, visit or contact or 800-638-0422.