Ms. #512 is by my favorite manufacturer, A.W. Fr. Kister. Products by this factory are much harder to find than those by its competitor, Galluba and Hofmann, and while both companies' products display the finest bisque and workmanship, I prefer the more realistic modeling of the bisque beauties by Kister. The fact that this lovely little lady is by Kister, and that she retains her original bathing suit and wig, allowed me to overlook her arms having been snapped off and reglued (the breaks now hidden under armlets of antique gold braid) and her right hand missing its thumb (now disguised by the tiny seashell in her hand). She displays a number of attributes that allow me to attribute her to Kister. Her square face with its strong jaw is unlike the perfect ovals found on Galluba ladies. Not only are her anatomical proportions much more realistic than those found on Galluba's ladies, her full breasts have molded and tinted nipples, a detail generally found only on Kister's delightful damsels. She is 3.5 inches long and 2.5 inches high, and there are no visible marks.
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.