Q: This bronze statue of a boy holding a mandolin is signed "S. Dumange." It's 11 inches high and 5 inches wide. There is what looks like a coin attached to it that says "Fabrication Francaise, Paris" and what looks like an upside-down bell followed by "Made in France." This little statue has been in my family for a long time. It belonged to my grandfather and I'm almost a senior myself now. There seems to be a piece missing, as there is a little hole in the boy's arm where he was probably holding a bow. Can you tell me something about the statue?
A: Your statue is a reproduction of "Performing Pierrot," originally sculpted by G. Dumange of France in about 1925. The original bronze figure was 9 inches high. The circular "upside-down bell" mark actually represents a crucible over flames. The mark was used by Fabrication Francaise, a foundry that opened in Paris in about 1892. The company made reproduction sculptures "after" the work of famous artists. Some were changed slightly or were made into clocks or lamps. They were sold as decorative objects, not valuable bronzes, and many were exported to the United States. Most were made of spelter or white metal painted to look like bronze. To see if your figure is spelter, scratch the base. It will show a silvery scratch if it is spelter. Bronze is solid. Pierrot is a comic character who first appeared in stage productions more than 300 years ago.