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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Theriault's Memorial Day

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Theriault's Memorial Day: From Stuart Holbrook: At Theriault' Dear Friends, It’s me again. Not that it’s about me. It’s not. It’s about dolls. It&#3...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Jumeau: For 30 years, from 1843-1873, the firm was Belton and Jumeau. When Belton died, Pierre Francoise Jumeau opened his own factory in Montreuil in 1873. His son Emile headed the firm from 1877 on, and the firm won 5 gold and one silver medal at exhibitions all over the world, including The Crystal Palace and Columbian Exhibitions. Jumeau, whose name means “twin, was known for many things. His dolls had hand blown “paper weight” glass eyes and Mme. Jumeau was known to design and costume dolls. Many wore chemises or simple shirtwaist dresses with the firm’s bumble bee design outlined in red. The Colemans feature photos of the old location of the factory in France. Jumeau made department store specials for the Louvre department store, and Bon Marches among others. Jumeau was also known for employing orphan girls, educating them, clothing them, and teaching them a trade. Perhaps Dickens was thinking of the Jumeau firm when he created his famous orphan doll maker, Jenny Wren, in Our Mutual Friend. Jumeau also printed doll propaganda pamphlets where one of his Bebes, “incassables” or unbreakable, was stomping on an inferior German doll. Yet, he is known to have important Simon and Halbig heads from Germany, and these often appear on bodies stamped Jumeau. Eleanor St. George shows an example in The Dolls of Three Centuries. Politics are everywhere. Entire trousseaux and accessories were available for Jumeau and Jumeau fashion dolls, as there were for other French dolls. A large, Mulatto woman made for an exhibition is valued at over a quarter of million dollars today. Many automatons boast Jumeau heads, and one versions of The Edison Phonograph doll has a Jumeau head. Many later dolls, including the model 236 Laughing Jumeau were made under the SFBJ. His last dolls were of celluloid, good quality, with pensive, little girl faces. These are stamped “Jumeau” on the nape of the neck. Other paper mache dolls in provincial costumes carry a Jumeau label. The bumble bee Jumeau mark is often confused with that of Heubach. In Beautiful Dolls, Jon Noble pictures a bebe Jumeau dressed as an Arab sheik, complete with beard The Jumeau Triste, or sad faced Jumeau, is supposedly a portrait of Henry IV of France as a young child. Allegedly Buffalo Bill Cody bought one of these for his daughter, hence it is sometimes called The Cody Jumeau. I have sent his doll in the Cody museum in Wyoming in the 70s, and also photos of it in books, though some say the story is not true. I have photographed my good artist replicas of the Jumeau Triste and sent them to The Le Claire Museum, Le Claire, Iowa, birth place of Buffalo Bill and home of The American Pickers. Valerie Jackson Douet and Brenda Gerwat Clark write in Dolls that “in 1881 alone, Jumeau sold 85,000 dolls” (57). o Here is the information on Jumeau dolls, Part II of this series of posts: o A Bibliography of Doll and Toy Sources by Ellen Tsagaris, now on Kindle o Doll Collecting. Jumeau Dolls o By Denise Van Patten, Guide o .Tete Jumeau in Original Clothing o Denise Van Patten Introduction to Jumeau Dolls: o Jumeau antique dolls are coveted the world over. Jumeau bebes (child dolls) are known for their expressive eyes and beautiful bisque, and Jumeau French Fashion dolls are the perfect expression of their time and place. Jumeau dolls can sell for many thousands of dollars today, and demand for the dolls is quite high. The dolls were made in the second half of the 19th century during the heyday of French doll making by two generations of the Jumeau family. o Years of Production of Jumeau Dolls: o Pierre Francoise Jumeau began the Jumeau firm in the 1840s. At that time, they made papier mache dolls. By the end of the 1850s, they made porcelain (glazed) dolls, and for the rest of the firm's production thereafter, they specialized in dolls with bisque heads--first, poupees (fashion ladies) and then bebes (child dolls). Emile Louis Jumeau took over the firm in 1874, and the company remained in family hands until it was subsumed into S.F.B.J. (see below) in 1899. o Materials Used To Make Jumeau Dolls: o As mentioned, in the early years Jumeau dolls were made of papier mache and then porcelain (commonly called china). These dolls are nearly impossible to identify as being from the Jumeau firm today, since they are almost all unmarked. Starting in the 1860s, production moved to bisque doll heads (unglazed bisque) and most known Jumeau dolls were made of this. French fashion dolls tend to have kid bodies, although some have wood or cloth, and bisque dolls generally have composition bodies. o Jumeau French Fashion Dolls: o The dolls that put French doll making on the map were the French Fashion dolls, which were the most popular type of doll manufactured from the late 1850s through the 1870s. These dolls, also known as poupees, were lady dolls with womanly bodies and realistic clothing, shoes, hats and accessories that reflected the fashion of their time. Jumeau was one of the best-known makers of these dolls, which were usurped in the late 1879s by the bebe (child) dolls. o Jumeau Bebe Dolls: o Although the French Fashion dolls made by Jumeau are beautiful, it is the bebes by this firm that are more widely known. Made from the late 1870s when bebe dolls became the preferred doll of children everywhere, the dolls were made by Jumeau until they became part of SFBJ. The bebe dolls have bisque heads, paperweight glass eyes, exaggerated eyebrows and beautiful bisque. Most had closed mouths until the 1890s. The French bebe, and Jumeau, met their demise due to cheaper German production. o Jumeau joins SFBJ: o The French doll makers, including Jumeau, were threatened by cheaper German production of bisque-head child dolls in the 1890s (think Chinese production vs. US production today). Eventually, the French firms could no longer compete, and in a last ditch effort to survive, they combined forces as the Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets. o Marks on Jumeau Dolls: o Most Jumeau fashion dolls are only marked with a number, although sometimes the body is stamped. Many of the Jumeau Bébés take their colloquial names from their marks--the E.J. Jumeau are marked E. (size number) J on the back of the head; the Tete Jumeau is marked Depose Tete Jumeau... on the back of the head. Often, you will see artist checkmarks as well, and a stamped composition body marked "Jumeau Meadville d'Or Paris or something similar. o Price Trends For Jumeau Dolls: o The rarest Jumeau French fashion dolls and bebes and those that have their original costumes and mint bodies continue to climb in price. More common dolls, including later open-mouth bebes and later French fashion dolls with cloth or simple kid bodies and common faces have had their prices stabilized in the last few years. However, expect to pay several thousand dollars for nearly any close-mouth bebe in excellent condition (collectors seem to prefer close-mouth antique bisque dolls to open-mouth ones). Jumeaux produced at the beginning of SFBJ production including those marked 1907 can be found for under $2,000. Some of the priciest Jumeau dolls include the early Portrait bisque bebe dolls which can easily be worth $20,000 to $30,000, and portrait-faced Jumeau poupees on wood bodies, which can be worth $10,000 to $20,000.This page has been optimized for print. To view this page in its original form, please visit: Jumeau, like Bru, used metal parts in his dolls, and may have made some metal dolls or heads. We aren't sure. Jumeauheads were used on The Edison Phonograph Doll and on automatons, and some heads are on Simon and Halibg and other boides, leading St. George to believe he dealt in hybrid dolls. Celluloid heads marked Jumeau still show up now and then and are worth collecting. Books by Margaret Whitton and M. Theimier on Jumeau are excellent sources.


Bru: The Bru, made by Bru & Cie, was the Cadillac of antique dolls. The dolls reached their heyday during the 1880s, the Gilded Age of the Victorian era featured in paintings by Renoir and in novels by Edith Wharton, including The Age of Innocence. Casmir Bru, who founded the firm, was of Portuguese descent. Early on, like Jumeau and other French companies, he may have imported heads from Germany, but soon, his famous marks, including the “circle dot” were found on dolls made of French kaolin clay. They were expressive, and among the first dolls to have a varied, almost astonished expression on their faces. Some of the bebes had molded breasts, those of a young adolescent. Their gusseted leather body had individual toes and their long hands were expressive, with tiny nails outlined. The so called Mona Lisa Bru smiling fashion has inspired modern artists as well as antique collectors. A Bru is featured in Anne Rice’s novel Taltos, and appeared on the back cover of some editions of Interview with the Vampire. Rice’s own doll sold at auction for over $34,000. it is one of the most reproduced of all antique dolls, and some versions have open mouths and teeth. In its best years, the firm was by by Paul Girard. Dolls included Bebe Teteur, a baby dolls with bottle and layette that nursed, Bebe Gourmand that digested food and was considered vulgar. It is one of the eccentricities of the doll collecting world that such unpopular dolls later become valuable collectibles. There are rubber Bru bebes, and one reported to be of metal. Many had ball jointed composition bodies. There are black dolls in bisque, and one tribal woman in papier mache, perhaps a Masai warrior woman, that is attributed to Bru. The doll once was part of the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, Seattle Bru dolls have always been scarce and expensive, e en in the late fifties, they sold for $75.000 and up when other dolls could be found even for small change. By the 1960s, they had risen to around $500, but the mid seventies, $5000. Collectors kept them in safes, and while they were still plentiful in adds for Hobbies and other magazines, one was advised to “call for price,” since no price could be printed, rather like the market price of lobster on a menu. Helen Young in The Complete Book of Doll Collecting tells the rather sad story of a whistling Bru that ended in an American Collection after spending World War II in a French convent. Her owner left he Bru and her sisters a the convent for safe keeping, but she never came back. She was a member of the French resistance, captured and shot by the Nazis. An American doll dealer visited the convent and bought all the dolls. She sold the others but kept one for herself. The dolls’ costumes were trimmed in hand made lace that the nuns made for sale. I remember seeing an unmarked, white bisque Bru lady in a lavender dress at The LaSalle Peru Doll Who in 1974. She was $75.00. Too expensive for my mother and me in those days. Her twin appears in Mary Hillier’s Dolls and Doll Makers; that doll has a key wound music box built into her body. There are interesting Asian bisque reproductions Brus in the author’s collection that bear traces of the original marks on their shoulder plates. Myth has it that reproduction Bru dolls are not authentic because a plaster mask was never made from their faces, since to do so would have damaged these super valuable dolls. Another myth is that the doll cannot be accurately reproduced because the models were destroyed in the Blitzkrieg. Yet, I can vouch for lovely reproduction Bru dolls made by Karen Julie Swanson of Galesburg, IL, by my friend, Violet Ellen Page of Galesburg, by The Franklin Mint ‘Nicole’ and by artist Pat Loveless. These dolls are collectibles in their own right. Peck makes wonderful Bru paper dolls, as does Peggy Rosamund, master paper doll artist. There are two dolls attributed to Bru in the author’s collection. One is a brown bisque Bru Jne R with a ball jointed brown composition body that may not be original. She wears her original eyelet dress, however, and has brown glass eyes. Her black, longhaired wig appears to be authentic. The other doll came to us as a head, with a cloth body meant for a china head, a wooden dowel for making dolls, and a pair of bisque arms. The head bore a “0” which the Colemans attributed to Bru. It is opened mouth with tiny teeth, and large eyes and pierced ears. The crown is concave, almost like certain Belton type dolls, which, notwithstanding, usually have solid crowns or domed heads. The doll has the quintessential French eyebrows and is good quality pale bisque. She wears an old mohair, “Bru” wig and was dressed by my mother. She was a favorite of my late mother’s, and I wrote an article about her in the late 80s for The Western Doll Collector. The last dolls made under Bru’s mark were made through the 1890s. By the end of the Century, Bru and Cie had become part of the S.F.B.J. For more on Bru and other French dolls, I recommend the video by Jane and Dorothy Coleman, The Golden Age of Dolls.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Step Into the Bata Shoe Museum: The Beauty of Beads

A Step Into the Bata Shoe Museum: The Beauty of Beads: By Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator   Small, luminous and colourful, beads have been used to decorate footwear around the world...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Conserving Queen Victoria's childhood dolls

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Nearing 70,000

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Nearing 70,000: I think there is a new follower, and I would like to extend a welcome! We will soon have 70,000 viewers/ readers on this blog and you are a...

Bru, Jumeau, and more

The 19th century web museum exhibt will soon continue our chronology. Thanks for being patient for our digressions and for my bad typing. I hope to includ information on the Huret/Rohmer law suit and more on the A. Marque, doll, more of a Turn of the Century doll, which recently sold for $300,000. I find it curious that many early French bisques were made by German firms, at least the heads, and in The Dolls of Three Centuries, Eleanor St. George shows hybrid dolls bearing Jumeau heads and Simon and Halbig bodies. I also will write more on the German dolls, and their possible links to The Holocaust. Two books covering this topic broadly are When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and The Doll with the Yellow Star. More, soon, but please read me at Doll Collecting at, too.

Center for the Future of Museums: Wordless Wednesday: A Real Bionic Hand

Center for the Future of Museums: Wordless Wednesday: A Real Bionic Hand:  Bionic hand, controlled by thought, that provides real-time sensory feedback. Click here to read more.