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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.

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