Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gypsy - Vintage French Pantine Paper Dolls

I'm having a bit of fun playing with vintage paper dolls once again.  
This time they are French "Pantins" from the 1800's and this is my third post in the series.

Today I thought I'd bring you a fun set of vintage gypsy dolls.

My adaptation of a vintage Gypsy Lady "Pantin" Jumping-Jack paper doll from the 1800's
These set of  Pantin aka dancing dolls are my updated interpretation of a vintage set 
originally created in France by Epinal - a well known printer of paper toys in the 1800's.

I created both of these dolls from this vintage sheet of French "Pantins" 
from the mid-late 1800's that I found on the Internet at flickr. 
This and may other vintage Epinal paper toys can be found there.

Vintage sheet of 6 Pantins - This sheet was posted by the generosity of pilllpat on flickr and can be found - HERE
This is what the vintage sheet of dolls looked like, and though nice in their original and rustic form I chose to take three of my favorites and clean them up digitally so I could use them in craft projects.
These old sheets are notorious for having runny and splotchy ink as well as flat, bland faces.

I spent my time working on only the images I wanted to use so I reworked the gypsies 
in the middle and the the Scottish lass dancer (I'll show here makeover on the next post).

I also chose to put in some extra arms in my versions so that you have more options on how to build your doll when putting it together. For additional options you can print a "reverse" of each doll just for more variety in how they look. 

For more information on how to put a "Pantin" doll together see my previous post - HERE
My Pantin paper doll assembly instruction sheet on how to make them dance can be found HERE  

For comparison here are the before and after looks at the two gypsies.

The original Gypsy Lady is from a sheet posted by the generous Pilllpat (Agence Eureka) on Flickr - HERE
I did not want to take out all the old world charm from the original but I did sharpen up the image, cleaned up the coloring issues, and colorized her face so she was not "washed-out".
I've arranged her differently, added in an additional set of arms in reverse from the original and created a second leg to match the other. (The two original legs are not proportional; it was especially apparent when you put the doll together with the legs side-by-side, so I correct it in my version.)

My altered version of the Gypsy Lady

The same process was done for the Male Gypsy

The Original Gypsy Man image is from a sheet posted by the generous Pilllpat (Agence Eureka) on Flickr - HERE
Once again it was an extensive digital process to sharpen the image, clean up the coloring 
issues and to give a bit more life to his face without removing the antique look of the piece.
His arrangement has also been changed from the original to accommodate the extra set of arms 
and I altered his proportions a bit "slimmed" his torso and limbs so he fit together better.

I like having versatility when putting together a jointed doll such as these; 
which is why I choose to incorporate extra arms on my renditions.

I created the next set of png format figures digitally; but they will give you an idea of how 
you can pose your dolls if you are gluing them together or attaching the limbs 
with brads or eyelets so you have a "movable" figure. 

Her appearance changes depending on how she is posed and which arm selections are chosen.
The center doll was "reversed" allowing her head to be turned 
in the opposite direction from the original.

There are several posing options for the Male Gypsy including 
reversing his direction as seen in the second figure.
Most computer printing programs and photo copy machines will allow you to "reverse" 
your image and I recommend adding that option into the mix if you are creating multiple figures.

I know there are a lot of paper doll collectors out there who love these vintage images 
just for the sake of looking at them but these are so much fun to create with.
They would make great children's projects of all kinds including:
 Christmas ornaments, package decoration, frig magnets and even wall art. 
I'll be making some jointed with brads to be stage characters for an upcoming 
Toy Theater creation I've got rolling around in my head.

I hope these revised images get a lot of play time and that some of you will be kind 
enough to leave a note on the blog to let me know how you are choosing to craft with them.
I'm really looking forward to that, so please do.

Next time I'll bring you the Scottish Lass and possibly a friend so don't forget 
to check back in as I continue adding Pantins to the growing collection.

Till Next Time...


  1. I truly appreciate the content of your blog.. Keep going.nice pics....

    Antique furniture

    1. Thanks Sally, I appreciate the kind words.
      I love European antiques so I'm sure to enjoy your website.


  2. J'adore!!!! Merci ma belle! :)

    1. Vous êtes tellement les bienvenus Sim! J'ai encore plus de plusieurs d'entre eux pour poster.

      (You are so very welcome Sim! I still have several more of them to post.)


  3. Thank you so much Evelyn! These gypsies are just what I've been looking for. It's funny how things work out sometimes! You are such a dear for cleaning these up and putting in .png format for us digital girls. Thanks again and I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Hey Terri - I'm so glad you will be using the gypsies!

      Thanks for letting me know you the Pantin dolls and the png's that go along with them. I've been working on them off an on for a long time and finally decided it was time they came out to play, so ya - it's odd how things work out sometimes.

      I have one more gypsy - a pirate gypsy and will try to post him in the next day or two for you.


  4. Hello,
    Wow, sooooo gorgeous!!! Yes, it must be a lot of work to clarify these old images, but we can see the details better. Often this style of paper dolls were articulated with "brads" ("attaches parisiennes").
    Many many thanks!!!

    1. Hi Sylvie - I'm so glad you like them!!!

      Yes, it's a long process to get them cleaned up but I really think they are worth the effort. I hope these new adaptations are enjoyed for many years to come and that a new generation of little girls fall in love with vintage paper dolls.

      Yes, brads work great when physically constructing these types of dolls and that's how I usually do it. Recently I've been purchasing vintage articulated dolls from 1880-1900 and they were assembled with eyelets and I think I'm starting to like that method better for constructing "reproduction" dolls or newly made art dolls. (Eyelets are tricky to remove from vintage paper parts so I'd rather purchase a vintage doll with brads or assembled any day of the week over one with eyelets.)

      I like using brads on vintage dolls so a doll can be taken apart easily without damaging any of the parts but I like that eyelets don't have any "prongs" to detract from the backside of the figure once it is assembled. This should work well for a creating double sided figures - which I hope to make for Christmas tree ornaments.


  5. I love all these antique articulated paper dolls. So amazing to see them. Thanks for posting them.

  6. Hi again Melissa

    They are so much fun and I'm glad you are enjoying them!