I am slowly learning about my "mystery doll", Giovanna. I have been in contact with a man who is very respected in the Schoenhut world, and he said he is certain she IS a Schoenhut! The spring joints were patented, and the shape of the limbs are all Schoenhut. Apparently they DID make dolls this size, as custom dolls or mannequins.
It is the face sculpt that is throwing us off, because there is no record of any face like that. However, it is clear that the head is original to the doll, although she has obviously been repainted. Now here is where it gets VERY interesting.
An Italian sculptor and artist, M Graziano, did some dolls for Schoenhut for a short time. Graziano favored dolls that looked like "real children".
OK--ITALIAN is the first big clue, because I said from the first time I saw her that she looked Italian--the face, features, and painting style all appear to be Italian. In searching thru my Schoenhut book, the dolls that were done by Graziano all had that wider nose that Giovanna has. I know I can only speculate, since the doll is not signed or marked in way, but I believe her to be a "lost" Graziano doll. Whether he made her for a commission, or for a friend, there is no way of knowing. It is my belief that she was made as a custom mannequin doll, and her face was done in the likeness of a girl who was very special to the person who commissioned her--perhaps a daughter, or a granddaughter. Maybe, sadly, the child died young, and the doll was done from a photograph.
It is sad to me that no one bothered to sign her, or even write her name on her back! It is so important to record things for future generations! Perhaps one day some real evidence will be discovered, but for now, she will remain a very treasured part of my doll family. She has so much "presence" and personality, it is hard to look at her and not see a "real" child. That, and the fact that I so quickly became attached to her, makes her very special. Most of the dolls that come into my life just don't stay for long, but Giovanna will not be leaving!