In its relatively short few decades of existence around the end of 19thC, Bru Jne & Cie of Paris, France, produced some of the most desirable and collectible dolls, most prized of which are their Bisque kind. Summarily referred to as simply Bru Dolls by those who love and collect them, they always fetch very high prices at auction.
Although the company later merged with SFBJ [Societe Française de Fabrication de Bébé & Jouets] until 1958, the Bru Dolls that remain the most collectible are those created during their formative years. Many re-issues of their original models were sold based on their reputation and of course, were imitated by many other companies & designers.
There were various types of dolls produced by Bru Jne & Cie, with the main three categories being Poupée de Mode meaning Fashion Lady Doll, Bébé Bru for Baby dolls, and the classic Bru Doll. The first two kinds were made primarily of Bisque - see our article on types of porcelain - whereas the last type was mostly of composition body. Not all Bru Bisque doll heads were made at their own facilities, a sizable amount were subcontracted to other factories.
Founded by Leon Casimir Bru in 1866 as Maison Bru, the company was acquired by Henri Chevrot in 1883, who actually then named the company to its now well-known brand of Bru Jne & Cie. By 1889, the company had a new owner, Paul Girard, who expanded the range of designs, and it was during that period that most open mounth Bru doll models were created. Here is an extensive and informative article on the history of Bru Dolls and the many periods & designs that characterized its evolution.
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