Postcard Image

Postcard Image
As the Victorian era passed into the Edwardian and Roaring Twenties, a market developed for bisque and china bawdy novelties and figurines of women in revealing outfits. Although now most of these figurines seem more coy and cute than ribald and risque, in their time they symbolized the casting off of the perceived restraints of the Victorian era.

These little lovelies included bathing beauties, who came clad in swimsuits of real lace or in stylish painted beach wear, as well as mermaids, harem ladies, and nudies, who were meant to wear nothing more than an engaging smile. Also produced were flippers, innocent appearing figurines who reveal a bawdy secret when flipped over, and squirters, figurines that were meant to squirt water out of an appropriate orifice.

Most were manufactured in Germany from the late 1800s through the 1930s, often showing remarkable artistry and imagination, with Japan entering the market during World War I.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Frog Prince

Open the door, my princess dear, 
Open the door to thy true love here! 
And mind the words that thou and I said 
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.

In the fairy tale "The Frog Prince," a princess playing by a well accidentally drops her golden ball into it.  A frog offers to fetch it for her if she promises to be his playmate and bring him to live with her in her castle.  The princess agrees, but when the frog returns her ball, she runs away, leaving, so she thinks, the frog behind,  However, soon the frog appears at the castle, demanding entrance.  When the king hears the frog's story, he tells his daughter she must keep her promise and she reluctantly allows the frog to sit by her at the table and eat out of her plate.  Later the frog demands that the princess carry him to her bedroom, place him on her bed, and let him sleep on her pillow.  In some versions, after the frog sleeps there for three nights, he turns into a handsome prince; in others, he changes after the princess either kisses him or, in a bizarre and violent twist, slams him against a wall.  

If figurine of a kneeling nude confronting a rather forward frog was inspired by the fairy tale, it looks as if the ambitious amphibian has demanded a little more than merely sleeping on the lovely lady's pillow! Of excellent china, this figurine is this 5.5 inches tall and was created by the German firm of Galluba and Hofmann. 


From the woman's slightly smiling expression, she seems willing to accede to the frog's demands on the chance there might just be an enchanted prince involved.
 

Underneath the base the figurine is incised "21" and stamped in green with Galluba and Hofmann crowned shield mark.


Also incised on left rear edge of the base is what appears to be "L Lonk (or maybe "Lank?") Nov 25." It is not unusual to find a sculptor's signature on fine bisque and china figurines of the early 1900s.  Renown German sculptor Otto Poertzel (1876-1963) initially trained and worked as a porcelain modeler at A. W. Fr. Kister., where his father was already a designer, and some figurines from this factory are incised with his signature.  However, I have not been able to trace the artist of this female and her froggy friend. 


Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Five Barrison Sisters, Minus One

Naughty, bawdy, blonde, and voluptuous, the Five Barrison Sisters tantalized and shocked audiences in the 1890s with a vaudeville act specializing in naughty antics and double entendres, often while dressed in girlish frilly dresses and beflowered bonnets.  This coquettish quartet certainly was inspired by the Barrisons during their brief heyday.  Note the pretty pair in the center of the picture both hold a cigarette or small cigar.  


This German cabinet card from 1895 shows the sisters in identical costumes.  All of the Barrisons are posed puffing on or holding a cigarette, a scandalous and suggestive accessory for a woman of that era.  


The same picture as interpreted by artist Alfred Choubrac in publicity poster from the famed Parisian Folies Bergère.


The belle in blue resting on her belly has appeared earlier on this blog. All four of the figurines are of good china and decorated in deep blue, highlighted with dashes of gilt.  I wonder if these provocative poses were from the unknown manufacturer's imagination or taken from publicity pictures of the Barrison bevy.  I also wonder if there is a fifth figurine representing the final sister.  Flaunting her cigar or cigarette, this insouciant sister is 5 inches long.  Like her other siblings, she is unmarked.


In a pose that could be interpreted as either artless or audacious, this seated sister is 3.5 inches high.


Arms and legs crossed, this Barrison in blue is also 3.5 inches high.


This picture of four femmes flaunting lorgnettes has been posted previously on this blog.  Although I identified the four as part of the Barrison brood, I had wondered where the fifth sister had wandered off to.  Now I think the mystery has been solved. . . .


This publicity still features all five of the sisters posing with lorgnettes, their costumes identical to the ones worn by their bisque doppelgängers.  While clearly copying this photograph, the unknown manufacturer simplified the figurine and made it more compact by not only eliminating the sister on the far left, but also switching the two center sisters in the remaining quartet and moving them all closer together.




Thursday, March 14, 2019

Indische Tänzerin

My last post featured a flapper bathing belle by Hertwig and Company of Germany, accompanied by her photograph in that company's catalogue.  This post deals with a more exotic offering by that same company.  Hertwig may be better known among collectors for its rather common and simply modeled precolored bisque bathing beauties and all-bisque dolls, but the company also created extraordinarily  fine figurines, often in the art deco style.  This decadent dancer is called "Indische Tänzerin" (Indian Dancer) in the company's catalogue, but her colorful and revealing costume is pure Western fantasy.  Of excellent china, she is 9 inches tall and incised underneath "5985."  


Here she is in the company catalogue, with the same "5985" model number.


Underneath she also carries a blurred blue stamp of Hertwig's Katzhütte mark.


This close up reveals the complexity of her pose.





Thursday, February 28, 2019

Badedame


This fashionable flapper poses confidently in the finest beachwear of the late 1920s.  Of excellent china and beautifully modeled and decorated, she is 7 inches long and 5.5 inches high.  


This same superb seaside siren is pictured in the catalog of Hertwig and Company, simply entitled "Badedame."


Even without the catalog, there is no question regarding her manufacturer, as underneath she is stamped in blue with the Hertwig mark featuring the silhouette of a cat inside the line drawing of a house, with a capital "H" tucked into the attic.  The mark is a play on the name of the city of Katzhütte (Cat Hut), where the Hertwig factory was located.  She is also incised "4533," which matches the model number in the catalog.




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

This embossed postcard sent February 15, 1912, features a rather wistful bathing belle gazing at heart-shaped clouds while Cupid loiters uselessly behind her.  The little slacker didn't even bother to bring his bow.  It's Valentine's Day, you feathered loafer--get that winged butt in the air and find her a beach beau!     


This frisky flapper bathing beauty with big blue googly eyes isn't waiting around for some flying naked toddler to find her a man.  Instead, her head swings back and forth on a small metal brad, allowing her to scan the seaside for suitable suitors.  Seven inches tall, the card was printed by George S. Carrington Greeting Card Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois.





















This little sultana shyly offers her valentine.  The brad on her left shoulder allows her arm to move slightly up and down.  It is marked in a circle "Louis Katz 1926."



Thursday, February 7, 2019

Burning Golden Eyes


Girl with the burning golden eyes, 
And red-bird song, and snowy throat: 
I bring you gold and silver moons, 
And diamond stars, and mists that float. 
I bring you moons and snowy clouds, 
I bring you prarie skies to-night 
To feebly praise your golden eyes 
And red-bird song, and throat so white.

To Gloriana, Vachel Lindsay (1879 - 1931)

This fascinating flapper with her enticing golden eyes, shadowed in smoky gray, certainly is worthy of praise.  By the German firm of Fasold and Stauch, renown for its lithe ladies with large alluring amber eyes, this beautiful vamp is 5.25 inches tall and incised “8669” on the back. 






Thursday, January 24, 2019

Feed the Birds

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you

"Mary Poppins" (1964), Richard and Robert Sherman


February is National Bird Feeding Month,  Declared by congressional proclamation on February 23, 1994, it urges individuals to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive, especially during the harsh winter months.  As an amateur birder, I have multiple feeding and water stations around my home, and enjoy watching the wide variety of birds often literally flocking around my house.  As the congressional proclamation declares, "backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults."  If you want to feed our feathered friends as well, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has helpful hints regarding the types of feeders and feed.  Plus, this wonderful website can help you identify the birds who subsequently will visit your feeders.

This pretty pincushion doll gets into the spirit of things by offering a tasty tidbit to the colorful bird perched on her wrist.  Of excellent bisque, the half doll is 3 inches and is incised on the back of her base "63 B 10/0."  Her long lower lashes are a decorative technique typical of the German maker William Goebel and she wears her original mohair wig.




Thursday, January 10, 2019

Making Scents


These two scent-sational perfume atomizers each feature a beautiful belle embracing an oversized perfume bottle.


This nude nymph is by the Czechoslovakian Royal Dux Porcelain.  Seven inches tall, she has a replaced bulb.  The old bulbs and hoses were made of rubber that hardened or warped as it aged and were often covered with a silk net that similarly decayed over the decades.


Underneath she carried the applied pink triangle unique to Dux and the incised numbers "3009" and "7."  After 1918, pieces were also marked "Made In Czechoslovakia."


This flapper with her flacon was produced by the French company Ereblè., which specialized in perfume atomizers.  It is 6.75 inches tall and retains its original hardware stamped "Made in France.


Underneath it is marked not only "Ereblè Limoges" and "France," but also with the intertwined "C" and "S" of Charles Serpaut, who produced perfume bottles, lamps, and other decorative porcelain items in the Limoges region beginning in the 1920s  


A close up showing her beautifully painted and stylized face.






Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy Boxing Day!

The day after Christmas is celebrated in the United Kingdom as Boxing Day.  It doesn't involve fisticuffs, but traditionally was a day when servants and service providers received a Christmas box or other gift or gratuity.  This gracious lady seated upon a silk-covered box would be a welcome gift for any collector.  Her bisque shoulder head, arms, and lower limbs are from the German maker Galluba and Hofmann.  She is on a wrapped armature body and is 10.25 inches tall.  Her bench box is wood, lined with cream paper, and covered in silk.  The tufted upholstery even has tiny buttons.  


Her lovely face has what I call the "smokey eye" variation.  Instead of the typical Galluba blue eyes with intaglio pupils highlighted with a dot of white and red upper lid lines, the entire intaglio eye is black and the eyes shaded with a sultry gray shadow.  Her smiling lips expose tiny molded teeth.


Her clothing is securely sewn and glued in place, but you can seen the unusual holes for attaching the arms and shoulder plate that seems to be unique to Galluba.  In this case, however, the arms are attached to the underlying armature and not directly to the shoulder plate.


This is not a break, as the edge is finished and you can see the corresponding holes around the edge of the shoulder.  This is a variation of the Galluba shoulder heads that allowed the arm to be attached in a different position.


Under the mesh pink stockings you can see that the lower legs have molded ribbed blue socks.  One is faintly incised "Germany" at the knee.  The shoes are also molded, but have been covered with narrow ribbon and given paper soles. 


Searching on the Internet, I found two other examples of similar candy boxes featuring a Galluba fashion lady dressed in tiers of lace and ribbon and seated on a silk-tufted candy box posing as a bench or ottoman.  This example is from Pinterest, but had no identifying information.


Another beautiful box from Dolls and Lace.  Note this belle on a box has a wig of the same blond floss as on my example.  Most significantly, she has her original label under her ottoman, stating "Alareine de Fleurs/J Daccard/Limoges/06 Rue de Clocher." J. Daccord was a confiserie (confectionary) store that operated in Limoges, France from the early 1900s as late as the 1960s.  And this box is a confection indeed and as sweet a treat as any candy it may have once held.  I suspect that Daccord or perhaps some French company bought the bisque shoulder heads and limbs from Galluba and transformed them into these elaborate chocolate boxes.






Sunday, December 23, 2018

New Posting on my Maneki Neko Page!

I have updated my Maneki Neko page with a video of a rare banko ware nodding neko, showing him sagely shaking his head.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

All Tied Up in a Bow

In this season of gift wrap and ribbon, this beautiful belle adorned a big blue bow is most timely.  By Galluba and Hofmann, she is an unusual molded hair version of a wigged model.  Earlier this blog featured a series of bisque half dolls by Galluba with either wigs or molded blue hair bows and this factory appears to have done the same for some of its bathing belles.  Of excellent bisque, this beribboned beauty is 2.25 inches high and 3.25 inches long.  Underneath she is incised with a "400" number obscured by an air hole.


A close up of her face shows the typical Galluba features, including intaglio eyes with white highlights.


Here she poses with a larger wigged version.


This page from a Galluba catalog appears to feature lovely lasses with molded hair ornaments in the lower right corner.




Thursday, November 29, 2018

Midnight at the Oasis. . . .

Send your camel to bed
Shadows painting our faces
Traces of romance in our heads
Heaven's holding a half-moon
Shining just for us
Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust

1973, written by David Nichtern, sung by Maria Muldaur

Completing the theme of erotic bronzes from fin de siècle Austria is this Middle Eastern maiden posing provocatively under a palm tree.  The palm fronds conceal a lightbulb and this lovely lamp is part of a series featuring various Arabic-inspired scenes under a sheltering palm.  Of cold painted bronze, it is unmarked, but is no doubt from one of the many Austrian foundries that produced finely sculpted and cast bronzes in the late 1800s through the 1930s.  A significant number of these bronzes engaged in Orientalism, with fanciful depictions of a mysterious, seductive, and decadent Middle East.  The lamp is 11 inches tall.


A close up of the barely-robed water bearer.  The cold painted patina is susceptible to wear, especially at any protruding edges, revealing glimpses of the gleaming bronze underneath


Thursday, November 15, 2018

"Mirror, mirror, in my hand. . . ."

. . . .who is the fairest in the land?"  As posted previously on this blog, there was a fad for artistic smoking paraphernalia in the early 1900s, especially ashtrays of bronze and stone.  This kneeling miss admiring both herself and her necklace in her hand mirror is yet another example.  Although this sculpture is signed only "Austria"on the back of the cushion, I attribute this bronze belle to Bruno Zach (1891–1945), a Ukrainian artist who studied sculpture in Vienna and became renown for his bronze sculptures, many of an erotic nature. The woman's extreme oval, almost egg-shaped, head with delicate sharp features and brushed-back hair is very typical of Zach's early ladies. The use of colored patina, such as the silvering on her stockings and the rose tint on her beads, is also found on many Zach pieces.  Beginning in the mid-19th century, Vienna was the home of many foundries and ateliers producing finely crafted bronzes to adorn the homes and offices of those wishing to subtly display their taste and wealth.  She is 4 inches high and her ashtray base of onyx is 7 inches long.



This close up shows the wonderful details of this diminutive sculpture and the subtle use of patina.