In addition to their various child/baby busts, nursery rhyme and fairytale characters, the Cybis studio produced many sculptures within their general category called “Children to Cherish.” They were all non-limited editions. The pieces from the 1950s and 1960s predated this category concept which was introduced the following decade. On the 1963 price list, the only three children (Springtime, First Flight, and a ballerina) are shown under a category heading “Objects D’Art.”
Sculptures are shown in chronological order by retail release year.
(Note: The “sports” themed child studies appear in their own separate post even though Cybis also included them in the general “children” category.)
This charming little girl dressed like a Southern belle is the earliest full-figure child study I have seen from Cybis. She is 7.5” tall and her skirt is about 5.5” wide. Unfortunately, several of the leaf tips within her basket of flowers have been broken off. This brown shading, which the studio called Cypia, has been seen on other 1940s and 1950s pieces. Although we don’t know her “Cybis name” or even if she had one, we do know that the Holland Mold from which Cybis cast her was called Shirley (Holland marketed most of their human figure molds with proper names.) Thus, it seems logical for us to use that as her Cybis name, even though the studio probably didn’t.
She has a combination of the typical 1950s stamped Cybis name and also the back-to-back C mark which supposedly indicates a late 1940s piece, so we’ve a bit of chronological confusion here. The above snip is from a May 1957 Holland Mold ad in Ceramics Monthly, showing her and her companion piece “Pat” but not designated as “new” designs either. You can see how Cybis added the hat and the flower basket to the purchased mold.
Cybis produced at least two of the six “child choir” molds that were sold by Holland Mold Company during the 1950s. Until or unless more Cybis ones turn up, we can’t know if they chose to make the entire series or not. Let’s call this one the Choir Girl with Book. She is 5” tall. The molded bow at her neck has been replaced by one made in Cordey-style dipped lace.
Although this was probably meant as a choirboy from Holland Mold, to me he looks more like an Altar Boy in Prayer. He is the same size as the Choir Girl and has the same bow.
The upper photo shows examples of the entire set as sold by Holland Molds (there are some duplicates here.) They all range from 5” to 6” tall. In addition to the Choir Girl with Book and Altar Boy in Prayer in the Cybis examples, there is a choir boy with a book, altar boy holding a candle, choir girl with pigtails, and a choir director with arms raised.
Springtime, made from 1963 to 1969, is 5” high and sold for $35-$45 during that period. Three different hair-color versions seem to have been made: blonde, brunette, and auburn The exact color of the flowers also sometimes varied. However, Springtime’s hair ribbon is always blue.
Rebecca was introduced in 1964 at $64 and retired in 1972 at $110. She is 6.5” high and while not expressly identified other than as “Rebecca”, her photo caption in Cybis’ 1960s catalogs reads “For all little girls who, like the little Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, find happiness in Beauty Days!” This piece, as well as a number of other child studies released during the 1960s and 1970s, was sculpted by Marylin Chorlton.
First Flight is 4.5” high including the base to which it is attached. It was designed by Patricia Eakins who had also worked for Lenox and Boehm. The 1978 and 1979 Cybis catalog Appendix has an error regarding the introduction year of this piece; they show it as 1966 which is incorrect. First Flight appears on the Spring 1963 Cybis price list as “First Flight (kneeling girl with bird)” which means it was introduced either that year or earlier. It sold for $20 during the 1960s and when it was retired in 1973 the price had risen to $50.
First Bouquet was the studio’s designated gallery-event piece in 1976; it sold for $75. Other than the substitution of flowers for the bluebird, and the change of hair ribbon color from blue to orange, it is identical to First Flight.
There appear to have been additional versions of these two pieces, as shown in this new post. One is even a religious version!
Originally introduced in 1967 at $75, Pandora is 5” high and of course represents the legendary personification of curiosity. In Cybis advertising she was introduced with this original poem: Endowed with every charm save one: the willful urge to pry; Pandora’s name is still invoked whenever maiden questions, “Why?” Pandora was retired in 1983 at $265.
There are two known gallery-event editions of Pandora. Pandora in blue was available during the 1970s and was an issue of 200. The floral-decorated version was called April was the event piece for 1983 and was an issue of 400. Larger photos of both can be found in the Pink and Blue post.
Pollyanna was produced from 1971–1975, with a retail price of $135–$195 during that time. She is 7” high and was designed by Mildred Cook. The photo above shows the standard retail edition, even though the very first Cybis advertising photo, the black-and-white one shown below, exhibits some differences.
Here she holds the apple in her left hand rather than her right, and the bow is different in that the loops are open and it has “tails” whereas the production version does not. The bench is dark instead of white, and her shoes also appear to be a dark color, at least from this black-and-white photo; perhaps her shoes were dark blue. It is probable that this first photo shoot utilized a prototype or artist’s proof, or perhaps some early ones were made like this.
Speaking of Pollyanna’s hands and that apple, there is enough of a difference in certain pieces to create a distinction between ‘good hands’ and ‘bad’ ones – “bad” meaning that the hand either was attached incorrectly or shifted into an awkward position during the initial firing.
Here are a half-dozen ‘good’ hands. Her left hand is close enough to the apple to give the impression that she is holding it with both hands, which in real life would indeed be necessary if an apple were balanced only on the two middle fingers of one’s right hand! This hand position also makes it less likely that the apple itself would be accidentally knocked off; I’m not sure whether it was attached to her hand with porcelain slip or just glue.
These are examples of ‘bad’ – or, to be charitable, ‘not optimal’ – hand positions. Not only do four of them look as if the apple is about to roll off her hand at any moment, the fingers of her left hand are much more vulnerable to accidental breakage. The example at the upper left is particularly unfortunate and really does deserve to be called ‘bad hands.’ My suspicion is that most of these happened because the person who assembled the various greenware mold pieces did not attach the hand to the arm at the correct angle in the first place. Yes, the heat of the kiln causes things to change position but – gravity being what it is – it’s unlikely that the hand would have moved upward rather than downward toward the apple, as in the ‘good hands’ Pollyannas. I should mention that I’ve never seen an actual retail Pollyanna who was holding the apple in her left hand, as in the official black-and-white Cybis photo. That apple also has a leaf on it.
This is the standard edition Betty Blue; she is just under 9” tall, introduced in 1974 at $175. By 1982 her retail price was $325 and by 1993, $495. The sculpture is based on the nursery rhyme Little Betty Blue lost her holiday shoe. What will poor Betty do? Why, give her another to match the other, and then she will walk in two. Her dress and hair ribbon, as well as her remaining shoe, are blue but there are some very pale pink shadings on the upper bodice and sleeves of her dress.
A bit of trivia: A sculpture of Betty Blue appeared on the tv show ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ during its seventh season. It was episode #11, entitled “The Thought that Counts”, which first aired on December 9, 2002. The appearance of the sculpture seen on the show suggests that it may have been obtained directly from the Cybis studio because the dress appears to be a bright solid pink; perhaps it was made that way so as to show up better on camera? Or was repainted by the show’s prop department for that purpose? If you have a chance to watch this episode and are a porcelain aficionado, you will definitely be cringing at how carelessly the sculpture is handled in several of the scenes!
Cybis produced a pink-trimmed gallery-event version named Patty Pink in the late 1970s; she can be seen in the Pink and Blue post.
Elizabeth Ann was introduced in 1976 at $195 and retired before 1982. Measurements are 4” x 4” x 5”. According to the studio’s advertising, she was “a sister to Yankee Doodle, our colonial boy on a broomstick.”
During the next two years (1977 and 1978) Cybis introduced four successive sculptures showing pairs of children at play. These are the only Cybis pieces that show more than one child. None of the child pieces introduced after 1976 were designed by Marylin Chorlton, who died in 1977.
Boys Playing Leapfrog ‘Skipper and Jens’ was a 1977 piece at $265, and was retired before 1982. It is 9.25” high and 6.5” wide.
Boys Playing Marbles ‘Rusty and Jonny’ was another 1977 introduction, at $285. It is 6.5” x 8” wide and was also retired prior to 1982.
Lisa and Lynette from 1978 at $285. Size is 9” high and 11” wide. This piece was retired at $365 in spring 1980.
This one of a kind piece has converted one of the girls into a boy. Perhaps it would have been called “Leonard and Lynette” or “Lisa and Leonard” if this had ended up being the retail piece! I suppose they decided to make it as two girls because they already had decided to make two other designs as two boys? I personally think the boy-and-girl version is the nicer one.
Nancy and Ned (sledding) was the other 1978 issue. It was the most expensive of the series at $325 and was also retired before 1982. It is 7.25” high and 9.5” wide. I have no idea why the “sledding” was placed in parentheses; was Cybis intending to portray Nancy and Ned in other seasonal sports? The standard retail colorway is shown in the first photo. As for the blue colorway, it may have been done at a collector’s request because it was not marked A.P. and it is unlikely that Cybis would have chosen a piece at this price point or of this complexity for a dealer event piece.
Christopher ‘The Sea Listener’ was issued in 1979 at $275 and retired in 1984. This piece is 6″ high.
Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair appeared in 1979 at $250; she was retired in 1982 at $525. She is 9.5” high. By the way, the 1979 Cybis catalog shows her simply as Jeanie while the 1982 price list has Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.
Kara (girl on beach) was introduced in 1980 at $285 and retired in 1982. This piece is 9.5” high and is one of only three sculptures that include a dog as a secondary element; the other two are Rumples the Pensive Clown and Eskimo Mother.
Suzanne (girl with kitten) was introduced in 1980 at $325 and was retired in 1983. Dimensions are 4.5” high x 9” long. The first photo shows the retail colorway. The second photo shows an artists proof that differs slightly from the retail version and which I think is more attractive because of the subtle and realistic shading. This is the only Cybis piece that ever included a cat as a secondary element.
Drummer Boy ‘Nicky’ is 5.5” high and was introduced in the fall of 1981 for $295. He was retired in 1984.
Little Jamie is also seen as Jamie (boy with chicks) in Cybis advertising. He was introduced in 1981 and retired in 1984. Height is six inches.
Emily Ann, who is 6” high, appeared in Fall 1982 for $185 but was retired by 1988; she was designed by William Pae.
David, Shepherd Boy was a 1983 piece price at $325 and was retired before 1988. He is 8.5” high and represents the future King David (of David and Goliath fame) as a boy.
Can you spot the design differences in this artist’s proof? The answer is at the bottom of this post.
The Choir Boy was introduced in 1984 at $325. A portion of the sale proceeds (but retail price currently unknown; it was not specified in the brochure) was to benefit the American Boychoir School. He is 8.5” high. He was “officially” retired before 1988 but the studio brought him back in the 2000s by offering back-stock on their website.
Clarissa, 5.25” high, was introduced in 1986 at $165. This photo shows the standard retail version that continued to be available thereafter for $195.
This rather poor photo shows a Clarissa in blue. This may have been a circa-early-1990s sold-at-the-studio item.
In 1987 Cybis introduced this variation named Little Heart which retailed for $195 for the three years that she was available. The mold is slightly different in that the flowers on her skirt are replaced by hearts, she has a decorated bodice, and holds a small heart in her right hand. I have only seen one photo of each colorway (pink vs. red) and so have no way of knowing, at this time, which one was the retail version. We shall have to await the discovery of a second one in either colorway to determine this!
Two companion child pieces were introduced in 1986: Bedtime Beth and Bedtime Jody. Both are 5” high. They were priced at $260 each in 1988, and $295 in 1993. During that latter year Cybis offered them as a pair for $500 but discontinued the discounted format shortly afterward.
This Bedtime Beth has black hair and eyes instead of the standard blonde. It may have been a special request for a customer, or simply one that the studio chose to paint that way during the 1990s for retail visitors to buy. It’s hard to tell from the one blurry and overexposed photo, but it’s possible that the eye treatment was changed in order to make her look Asian instead of Caucasian.
Pony and Children was introduced in 1988 as an open edition at $575 and was retired before 1993. It is a relatively small piece (given the composition) at only 8″ high.
This somewhat similar test piece of a Girl on Pony was never released at retail. It probably dates from the 1980s as well. Dimensions are not known. I would not be at all surprised if this was sculpted by either Lynn Klockner Brown or Susan Clark Eaton.
Daddy’s Little Girl is 11” high and was a 1989 introduction at $625; pieces actually created during that year will have the special 50th Anniversary backstamp. In the introductory brochure the studio said that they would “paint the name of the daddy’s little girl in your family on the bottom of the sculpture, on special orders shipped directly from the studio.” So if any show up for sale on eBay with a name (in addition to ‘Cybis’) on the bottom, that is why. By 1993 her price rose to $750 and then to $895 in 1999.
The following non-limited edition child figures appeared in late 1989 or after. I suspect that these were designed by the same artist who did the “sports children.”
Andy is sometimes shown with the expanded name “(boy reading book)” although that obviously goes without saying. He is 4.75” high and was $275 in 1993. Two different colorways are shown; it’s not known which version was the actual retail one.
Cowboy (little boy) is 8.5” high and was introduced in 1990 for $275. Doesn’t his face look rather like John Wayne..??
First Bath, companion to First Flight is 5.75” high overall and was $325 on their 1993 price list. See this March 2021 post for a discussion of how this particular design came about, and for an additional photo.
Girl with Lamb is 5.5” high and was introduced in 1990 for $275.
This piece is similarly sized at 5.25” high. Originally introduced in Spring 1991 as Girl Holding Daisies ‘He Loves Me’ for $275, in 1993 Cybis changed her name to Girl Picking Daisies ‘Love Me – Love Me Not’…. which is, of course, a less accurate description because she is, indeed, holding them rather than actively picking them. Notice the difference in workmanship between the mold-cast flowers on this piece and the handmade ones seen on the “Golden Age” 1960s and 1970s children such as Rebecca, Springtime, Heidi, etc. I can’t help thinking that those flat-molded flowers look exactly like fried eggs! [photo courtesy of the Museum of American Porcelain Art]
Girl Gathering Flowers with Chipmunk is 11.5” high, introduced in 1990 at $395. (At least the flowers on this one were handmade!)
There were three female Cybis full figures whose age-appearance is difficult to determine; they definitely look “older” than any of the examples above, but to say that they represent an adult woman is arguable. So, in the spirit of compromise, I would classify them as “probable late-teenagers.”
The first ambiguous-age piece appears in 1976 with Melissa, an open edition standing 10” high and selling for $225. She was retired in 1980. The standard retail edition is pink; the blue version (Evangeline) was the retail gallery event piece for 1977.
This is Laura, a 9” high open edition introduced in 1986 for $325 and assigned to their ‘Children to Cherish’ category. I would definitely classify her as a teenager rather than a child.
Young Rose originally appeared in 1987 as an open edition, in pink, for $295. She, too, is 9” high and debuted as Young Rose (Bridesmaid) within a collection that included Wedding pieces. She was removed from that category in the early 1990s and shifted to ‘Children to Cherish’, probably because they had no idea where else to put her. The blue variant appeared in October 1996 as a 200-piece retail store event colorway. Because it was first marketed at Roberta’s Collectibles in Florida, Cybis titled this version Roberta. They are individually numbered. Because Theresa Rose attended this event, several of them seen on the market are signed T. Rose on the underside. This is Theresa Rose Chorlton’s signature and is not, as some online sellers have mistakenly claimed, an artist’s signature; she signed them as one of the owners of the studio.
This clay model of a young girl bust was created during the 1980s by William Pae. This is the only known photo of it. In its completed state it would have been a head/shoulders/hands bust similar in style to the Madonna with Lily or Madonna with Bird, but the studio chose to shelve this project and so this sweet young lady was never produced for retail.
And finally, even though due to lack of any photo I have no idea what ‘age’ the subject represents, I am going to assume that it might be a child or teenager and include it here. (I also have absolutely no idea what other Archive post I could list it in!) The museum catalog Cybis in Retrospect mentions but does not picture a Shepherdess with Christmas Rose in plain white bisque. The “christmas rose” would have been the perennial Helleborus niger but is she holding a bloom or simply standing next to a plant?? This piece was only 5.5″ high but was 18″ long, so there must have been at least a few sheep also in evidence. It was cited as being from 1952 and so the odds are that the shepherdess and sheep were cast from ‘purchased’ molds and then combined atop a base with handmade Cybis flowers and foliage.
* Answer to the Shepherd Boy question:
In the artist’s proof, David’s eyes are closed; in the retail version they are open. The outer/side edge of the base is slightly routed instead of being smooth, and no ‘grass/moss’ was added to it.
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