Swiss eBayer a.r. has just listed this very early and beautiful set of hand-carved wooden figures, dollhouse and furniture by Antonio Vitali. According to a.r., these were sold at the Swiss National Crafts Store (!) in the 1940s and 50s. Frank Caplan, founder of Creative Playthings, must have seen these on one of his many global shopping trips. A few years later, Antonio Vitali was asked to design a set of wooden figures, or Playforms, and sculptured farm animals for CP. He also collaborated with Evelyn (Eveline) Okwame, an early education and play researcher from Yale, to expand CP's wooden figures and create a few variations on the modern dollhouse.
By the way, the book that a.r. mentions is Antonio Vitali: Spielzeugdesigner (Creator of Toys). I'll update this post when my copy arrives.