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A  Lenci Dolls Collector article--for Lenci doll collectors



Lenci Characters: The Circus

By Patricia Hayes

The Ars Lenci, Ultime Novita, of 1925, is a small catalog that contains the latest Lenci novelties for that year. Printed in black and white, the pictures do not do justice to a collection of what might be considered the most colorful and diverse of Lenci characters up to that point.

Here were see the blossoming of Lenci talent and creativity in the magnificent and exotic Circus Characters.

One can imagine Madame Lenci looking with pride on her latest creation, the exotic snake charmer character, and with a smile recalling one day 25 years earlier, when she herself paraded around a circus ring carrying a snake coiled around her

Circus Lady


Lenci Circus characters

The 15 year old Elena and her 17 year old sister Gherda, unknown to their widowed mother, had impulsively jumped on to a circus train as it was leaving the station, to set out on the adventure of their young lives. When Madame Nouma-Hawa, the circus lady known as "The Smallest Woman in the World", discovered them on her circus train and told their mother, how understanding mother had been to allow them to stay on and work in the circus for a few months.

Was the circus lady with the monkey on her arm somebody they met during their circus days? or could this be a portrait of Madam Lenci herself, in remembrance of her circus adventure? We may never know, but what a vision she is in her orange and yellow - and the exotic snake charmer complete with coiling snake, and the tumbling acrobats, they are all here to invoke the excitement and thrills of the era of the grand touring circus.

Lenci snake Charmer

The Lenci Snake Charmer of 1925

"Princess Nouma-Hawa" the beautiful and tiny circus lady in a poster from the 1890's

Circus Lady in Lenci 1925 Ultime Novita catalog

Detail of monkey.

1925 Ars Lenci

Circus Characters in the Ars Lenci, Ultime Novita catalog of 1925, acrobats on the lower left and snake charmer on the top right.

Lenci Acrobat 1925   Lenci Acrobat 1925

Colorful Circus Acrobats 1925


Elena Scavini Age 15

Elena Scavini, 1900 age 14/15, around the time she and her sister Gherda set out on their circus adventure.

Poster 1886 Nouma Hawa - CLICK to Enlarge

Nouma Hawa Circus Poster 1886, Elena Scavini and her sister Gherda worked for Madame Nouma Hawa in 1900

Nouma Hawa poster 1902

Nouma Hawa postcard

Postcards of Nouma Hawa

Photographic credit
1- Circus Lady, Private Collection
2- Snake Charmer, Private Collection
3- Ars Lenci Ultime Novita 1925
4- Acrobat Dolls of 1925: Lenci, The History and the dolls. Nancy Lazenby
5- Princess Nouma-Hawa [Link]

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