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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Bevy Of Bathing Beauty Bottles

The German firm of Schafer and Vater produced numerous "nippers," novelty bottles that held a "nip" of alcohol. Many of the bottles had comic themes, but also, perhaps to appeal to the male clientel the bottles were most certainly marketed to, many featured lovely ladies or ribald humor. Some of the most sought after of Schafer's naughty nippers are those featuring bathing beauties.

This blue and white nipper featuring a bathing belle standing on the shell of a large tortoise is a type of jasperware often used by Schafer. Unlike the jasperware produced by Wedgwood, in which the white portion is molded separately and then added to the colored background, Schafer cleverly figured out a way to produce the same effect in a single mold, by careful use of blue and white slip. Often Schafer produced the same bottle in jasperware, colored bisque, and in a brown glaze. This 5.5 inch tall bottle is incised "3872."

Another jasperware bottle, this time featuring a slender siren riding a cooperative sea lion. Incised "3878," this bottle is 5 inches tall.

This curvaceous cutie with a crabby companion is an example of a bottle produced by Schafer in colored bisque, but it can also be found in jasperware or brown glaze. This 4.5 inch tall bottle is incised "3876."

Back to jasperware, with a rather stern looking elephant providing a smiling bathing beauty with a shower. Incised "3877," this bottle is 5 inches tall.

Another shower scene in colored bisque. This bottle is a much larger size, standing 8 inches tall, and is incised "3864." While the lissome lass seems to be enjoying her shower, her little whippet puppy seems less enthusiastic. Perhaps he is afraid of getting his big red ribbon bow wet.

All of these bottles are of excellent bisque and the modeling is very sharp and detailed. Clearly, Schafer used this "3800" series for its bathing belle naughty nippers.

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