Jumeau Dolls

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Jumeau Dolls were one of the oldest established French Doll Makers. They were started by the partners Louis-Desire Belton and Pierre-François Jumeau. Regrettably the partnership separated and Jumeau set up as an independent dollmaker.

Nowadays the Jumeau Dolls are known as some of the highest quality collectable French Dolls. In the early 1840s, a standard method of advertising your product was to exhibit it at an International Exposition. In the 1850's the trend for expositions was to be a sort of combination of Galleries,exhibition stands and palm houses showing off each nations best products in luxurious surroundings.

Jumeau (by now a Dollmaker on his own) exhibited and won a first prize medal in the Great Exhibition in London England. Dollmaking was a very competitive art and may confuse collectors a little since dollmakers bought and sold from each other extensively. Jumeau sold bisque heads to many dollmakers.

A lovely doll may well have been made with a bisque head by one maker and dressed by another and have a lovely wig from another. Girls at this time wanted realistic huggable dolls and Jumeau did his best to supply them. Dolls were made with mainly Bisque heads as these gave better flesh tones and sharper painted features.

Sometimes dolls were sold unclothed with the intention of girls learning to sew dolls clothes as a preparation for sewing their own clothes later. A classic example of this was the Bleuette Doll that Jumeau made for a leading magazine that published part works on how to make clothes for your own Bluette.

Although the Jumeau factory turned out many hundreds of dolls, it is difficult to identify early Jumeau dolls because they were not marked

Marking began in earnest around 1870 and this makes it much easier to identify a bisque doll from Jumeau. Marks are usually under the wig at the nape of the neck or on the shoulder.

German Doll makers from Thuringia made excellent dolls but these were cheaper ( although not as fashionable as the Jumeau Dolls) and this price cutting made Jumeau join the SFBJ group

If you are considering buying an expensive Jumeau or other collectable doll then I advise you to obtain a collectors guide to that specific makers dolls . The value of a Jumeau doll varies hugely according to condition. Even a slight crack on the face can mean a drop of thousands of dollars in value.

Other defects to look for are chipping around the eye sockets, replacement wigs and pate (top of the dolls head),firing marks or cracks behind the ears. Look carefully for rubbing of the cheeks or tiny chips or marks on the nose.

Check that the eyes have not been replaced.

A common problem is with the replacement of clothes with modern copies.Reproduction dresses are not infrequent and this may be acceptable if they are made of natural fibres like silk or satin but would not be acceptable to any serious collector if they were made of modern synthetic materials.

Many dealers in dolls do mislead buyers as to authenticity of their dolls particularly if the doll is one of a model which is known to have been reproduced. After World War Two many doll factories were looted in France and Germany and their molds were stolen. These are used by unscrupulous traders to make very good reproductions.

This is why it is vital to get a letter of provenance (the history of that particular doll) to prove that yours is authentic.

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Article by Keith Jones

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Jumeau Dolls

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This article was published on 2010/03/30