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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week


Ms. #534 appears to be preparing for a very, very happy New Year's celebration, judging from the magnum of champagne she holds in her left hand.  Despite her bottle of bubbly and a revealing robe that emphasizes her considerable cleavage and exposes a black-stockinged leg, her expression appears rather shy and demure.  Maybe she is just deep in thought, trying to remember where she left her bottle opener.  Of excellent sharp bisque and detailed modeling, she is 6.75 inches tall  and is incised "1101."  Attached behind her is a green urn adorned with a jasperware grapevine around the rim.  She is part of a series of lovely ladies in rather revealing outfits posed by a small jasperware container for matches or toothpicks.  Although she and her sisters are sometimes attributed to Schafer and Vater, who also made extensive use of jasperware and loved long-legged lasses in black stockings, to me the modeling, especially of the hands and faces, does not look like Schafer's work.  Next week I will picture more pretty ladies from this series. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week


Ms. #529 is another of a series of barely clad bisque belles literally sitting high on the hog. In Germany, the pig is a sign of good luck and prosperity and it is traditional to give gifts of candy or marzipan pigs known as gl├╝cksschweinchen (good luck pigs) at Christmas. However, considering the young lady's state of undress and "come hither" pose, instead of a "good luck pig," this appears to be a "get lucky pig."  Of good sharp bisque and nicely modeled, this gal and her gl├╝cksschwein are 3.75 inches long and incised underneath “50” and "6."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saul Steinberg's Bathing Beauty

The December 3, 2012, edition of The New Yorker included a review by Peter Schjedahl  of a recent biography of famed cartoonist Saul Steinberg.  Illustrating the article was a 1951 photograph of Steinberg and his wife, Hedda Sterne, posing by a mantel piece adorned with an interesting assortment of objects.   But who is that shyly peeking out from behind the ornate clock?


She appears to be the long lost sister to Ms. #473,  a Galluba and Hofmann fashion lady who was featured earlier on this blog.


I wish I knew the story behind Steinberg's bald bisque bathing belle.  Where did she come from and why did he and his wife give her a place of honor on their mantel?  Was she a gift from a beloved friend, a souvenir found on a trip, a precious present from one to the other?  And where is the little lady now?  Was she passed down as a treasured heirloom or does she sit forgotten and abandoned in some dusty attic or on an antique shop shelf?  If only my silent seraglio of bisque and china could talk--who knows what stories they would tell!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week



In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking . . . . but there is nothing shocking about Ms. #528 and her gorgeous gams garbed in green.  Of excellent china, this six inch tall damsel in dishabille stands before a small vase or container.  Although unmarked, she is certainly of German quality.