Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Uncovering a Treasure: Jumeau Fashion Body

Have you ever had the experience of uncovering a treasure from what looks like a pile of junk?  Well I have, and the thrill of such a discovery is very satisfying. 

During our work a couple of years ago at the Gold Nugget Museum, we were opening storage boxes and trying to identify and assess the contents, recording our observations so we can get a better idea of the condition of the entire collection of over 1500 dolls.  Like many other museums all over our country, display space is limited and although we'd love to have more then seven display cases for dolls, it isn't possible, so a large number of dolls remain in storage containers, awaiting their turn in the display cases. 

In one large sized storage container, we uncovered what looked like a German celluloid doll, dressed in an obvious homemade gown, made in the style of the late 1800s.  The head was broken, and completely separated from the body.  The dress and shoes completely covered the body, so at first glace, it might have been tempting to just wrap the doll back up and put it in the category of needing major restoration.  But since we were trying to get a very complete evaluation, we instead did a very detailed inspection, and were shocked to discover a wonderful french wooden body under the dress.

The celluloid head appeared to be that of a child, while the body appeared to be that of a french fashion doll. Apparently, someone tried to make a complete doll by putting the celluloid shoulderhead on an available wooden body, and later, the celluloid head broke too.   I took photos of the body to a UFDC national convention, and two well known antique doll experts identified it as a valuable Jumeau body, needing restoration.  We now have the body displayed at the museum, since it is not very often that one can see the intricate details of such a finely made body.  I hope that you enjoy looking at it too.  The body is approx 21 inches tall. Missing hand, broken index finger on other hand, and broken toes on one foot.  BJD enthusiasts - take a look.... antique dolls could be posed very well too!

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