Ms. #472 is one supersized siren, measuring 14.5 inches long and 7 inches high. She is all original, from her light auburn mohair wig to her net bathing suit trimmed with red ribbons Her face is beautifully painted and detailed, with brown feathered brows, finely painted eyelashes, and parted smiling coral lips revealing molded teeth. There are no visible marks, but she is by Galluba and Hofmann. My theory is that these gigantic bisque bathing belles by Galluba were meant as exhibit pieces, perhaps at commercial expositions or store displays, and were not generally available to the public (it would take one heck of a china cabinet to display this gorgeous giantess!) These extra-large ladies are very hard to find, especially in such pristine condition.
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.