If this lovely lady lying on her chaise lounge looks familiar, it is because she is the super-sized version of the powder box appearing on page 150 of my book, Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties: German Bathing Beauties and Their Risqué Kin. This pretty power box is 7 inches long and 6.5 inch high, and because of her large size, is much more detailed than the version in my book, which is only 4.75 inches long. In the smaller box, the lady was left stark white, while in this deluxe model, she has a flawless complexion and beautifully painted features. She holds a small red object in her hand. Perhaps it is a powder puff and she is about to dip it into the box under her, or perhaps it is a small apple for this more modern Eve. The box is incised underneath “3265.” My smaller version is stamped "Bavaria" and I attribute both boxes to William Goebel.
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.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
This delicate dancer is the sister of the bisque ballerina appearing in my previous post. Also 8 inches high and jointed only at the shoulders, she is of excellent pale china. Her molded gray wavy short hair is adorned with a gilt headband decorated with raised dot design. There is a hole in her left toe for a supporting rod and there are no marks.
This picture from a 1911 Dressel, Kister, and Company catalogue displays an entire troupe of toe dancers. Most came au naturel, but they were all supplied with simple wooden stands. This charming china ballerina appears in two sizes in this photograph.
Although all these lovely ladies appear to have molded hair, another picture from this catalogue shows a dancer, in the lower right corner, striking the same pose as the bisque belle in the prior post. Other than the molded hair, the modeling and detail appears to be identical.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
This prettiest of prima ballerinas is attributed to the German firm of Dressel, Kister and Company. Of the finest flawless bisque, she is 8 inches high. Her slender arms with delicately detailed hands are jointed at the shoulders, but her legs are stiff. There is a hole in her left toe for supporting rod, and these beautiful ballerinas were once attached to pincushions and music boxes ornately adorned with silk, lace, beads, and ribbon. Her luxurious costume, lavished with silk floral garlands, gold lace, and tiny gilt beads, appears to be original and is typical of the elaborate outfits used by Dressel in dressing its ladies and half dolls. There are no visible marks.