Identifying Lenci Ceramics: Lady with Frog

Lenci Figurine with Frog

First of all I am not an expert on Lenci ceramics but I occasionally get questions from readers regarding ceramics and figurines they wish to identify or evaluate and I try to point them in the right direction if I can. Here is a example of one case. The owner of the lady with frog pictured here was looking for help identifying her figurine. A friend who had a great reference book at the time was able to find a page showing that lady was originally standing in a cup - I expect you would fill the cup with water as a display or centerpiece. The title is NUDA CON RANOCCHIO CON COPPA by Mario Sturani, an artist who worked for Lenci, the mark on the original is "Lenci Made in Italy Torino B. s.g.d."
The figurine is 10x35cm and the cup is 12x17cm.
I also found a Lot Description online in the Christies past auctions with price from a previous auction which refers to a lady that is not in a cup.:

Lot details: "A Lenci matt glazed figure of a naked young girl standing holding a green frog in the right hand, painted factory mark (restored) -- 13½in. high"
Price Realized (Set Currency) £1,210
Price includes buyer's premium
Estimate£1,000 - £1,500
($1,557 - $2,336)
Sale Information
Sale 4867
decorative arts,1850 to the present day
10 December 1992
London, South Kensington

Reference Page Showing complete Lenci Figure in Cup


On the same reference page is another art deco looking figurine of a  Lady holding a frog in one hand and shading it with the other hand. This one is called GINESTRA and it is by Sandro Vacchetti , Marked Essevi  Made in Italy Torino  1-939 XVII.

A good reference book for Lenci ceramics is Le Ceramiche Lenci by Alfonso Panzetta (Link to book page at Amazon) - the full title is "Le ceramiche Lenci, 1928-1964: Catalogo generale dall'archivio storico della manifattura" . Its currently out of print but it worth looking for used copies if you can get one.
"The privilege of exclusive access to the archive of the legendary factory in Turin, whose works are now highly sought after by museums and collectors around the world, has allowed us to make this work, which classifies the almost total ceramic production during the entire activity atelier. In addition to an exceptional array of nearly two thousand copies, some of which works now found, scattered in unknown locations and perhaps destroyed, this systematic repertoire includes all relevant information, meticulously verified as dating, names of artists and decorators, trademarks, measures and number of units produced."

Lenci doll in 1920s Store Window

Lenci doll in shop window 1920s

This little girl is looking at a shop window full of dolls. the doll that caught her eye seems to be looking right back at her. In the center front is a 22 inch 109 series Lenci doll in a plaid felt dress that first appeared in the Lenci catalog in 1927 as model 109/48 so this dates the photo to the mid to late 1920's to early 1930s

Actually there is another lenci doll in the picture - can you spot it? Is is only partly visible to the right of the picture, it appears to be a Lenci 300 series or a Grugnetto boy doll carrying a cane.

Lenci series 109/48

Lenci series 109/48

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Very Early Lenci Toddler Doll

Early Lenci Fat Face Toddler Doll

This is a vintage photo I saw on Etsy today. This is the earliest version of the108 Series  Fat Face Lenci dolls. These 15 inch fat baby dolls were made from 1919-21 and were seen in the early ads and the 108 series doll appeared in very first Lenci catalog of 1923 which included examples of the dolls and characters Lenci was selling up to that time.

Lenci ad  Playthings1921

Lenci ad Playthings1921

The Lenci ad above is from the american toy trade Playthings magazine 1921, showing a selection of Lenci dolls for promotion on the American market that year. There are two of the early chubby baby dolls on the top row.

The article page above shows a goup of the early fat face Lenci babies from the Farago collection. The doll on the right looks like the exact same doll from the black and white photo on etsy.These early fat babies are now very rare and are rarely seen at auction or on eBay. See below a rare picture from the 1923 catalog of one of the 108 series fat face toddlers -  notice the doll from the catalog that has separate fingers in contrast to earlier 108 series dolls in the photos above that have joined fingers.

LENCI lead button

LENCI lead button

The early Lenci dolls made before 1923 often have human hair and many have a metal(lead) round button tag on the body or clothing similar to the Steiff button, with the word "LENCI" in capital letters on it. These early dolls can be difficult to identify. They have coarser features than the later dolls as the process was not refined yet and they were likely molded by Lenci herself.

1923 lenci catalog fat baby

1923 Lenci catalog 108 C Fat Face Toddler 15"

From about 1923 when the dolls were increasing in popularity, Lenci hired artists and one of them was assigned the task of creating the 1923 catalog which was to showcase all the types of characters and dolls they were producing going back to the early dolls like the 15 inch 108  Series Fat baby from the 1923 catalog pictured above  as well as the new dolls for 1923. With new artistic input and synergy there was a rapid development of production with culminated in the beautifully refined child and lady dolls produced from the mid 20's to the early 30's.

1920 Lenci Ad

I am looking for  more picture  to share on the website so if you know of any please let me know. Continue reading