The Jumeau Company were the finest French dolls makers in the time of the world’s greatest dolls. The latter half of the 19th Century was the golden age of doll making and France was at its center. The world looked to France as the masters of doll making and their dolls were, and still are, the most prized dolls amongst collectors.
The heyday of Jumeau came in 1860’s and 1870’s. The production techniques had reached their height, the company were innovating and changing their dolls to meet the desires of customers and their skills had reached their pinnacle.
Jumeau and Bisque Dolls
In its early period, Jumeau had made their dolls from papier mache or porcelain. But at this time the new material of bisque was being used in Germany to produce dolls more cheaply and quickly than was possible for the French manufacturers who were still working in porcelain.
The head of the Jumeau Company, Francois Jumeau, decided that he too should switch to using bisque to make his dolls in the 1860s. This lead to a huge increase in the output of dolls. Each year saw an increase in the number of dolls the Jumeau company were making to an unprecedented number. At this time, Jumeau were exporting their dolls and becoming world famous for the quality of their dolls.
Jumeau Bebes Go Into Production
In 1874, Francios Jumeau handed over the reigns of the Jumeau company to Emile Louis Jumeau. This change saw a shift in the design of Jumeau dolls. Up to that point, Jumeau had been making fashion ladies (or ‘poupees’). These dolls were made in the image of full grown women. Emile Louis Jumeau realised that young girls much prefer to play with dolls that look like little babies rather than those that look like women. As a result, he shifted production away from poupees and towards the new range of Jumeau Bebes.
Jumeau Bebes were designed to look more like babies (and increasingly moved in that direction as time went on). The Jumeau Bebes proved to be a huge success and are still massively popular amongst doll collectors today. With the move to Bebe dolls, Emile Louis Jumeau established Jumeau dolls as the highest quality and most sought after dolls in the world.