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, September 25, 2013

Their Favorite Things--And Mine Too!

A friend tipped me off to a December 17, 2012, article that appeared in Cape May Magazine entitled "Their Favorite Things."  In the article, four bed and breakfast proprietors in the Cape May beach-side resort share their favorite things, including Sandy Miller of Windward House Inn, who describes the large collection of antique bathing beauty figurines that adorn her B&B. Miller and her late husband, Owen, collected the lovely ladies in the 1980s (I visited Cape May a number of years ago, but was unable to view the fabled Windward House collection because the B&B was closed for the season).

Except not all in the collection are ladies!  As seen in this picture headlining the article, the collection includes at least one scarce male of the bathing beauty species, a rare specimen I have dubbed Mr. Tuffolino.  

REPRODUCTION WARNING:  Mundial Company is manufacturing copies of "Tuffy" in a pink, red, or black bathing trunks (look for HR2011-1 through HR2011-3 under "Baigneueses").  The quality is far below that of the antique original (it does not even have Tuffy's most manly mustache!), but the copies could deceive a dealer or collector who has not had the pleasure of meeting the real Mr. Tuffolino in the flesh (or bisque). 

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