Although a half doll, Ms. 544 is wholly lovely. By the German firm of Galluba and Hofmann, she retains her original blonde mohair wig. A molded necklace of raised gold and turquoise dots encircles her long, slender neck and she holds a molded book in her left hand. Typical of Galluba products, she is of the finest quality bisque and workmanship. She can also be found as a complete fashion figurine.
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, January 16, 2014
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Recently a friend visited the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City, which is temporarily closing for renovations. She generously sent me pictures of that male Holy Grail, the Galluba and Hofmann bathing man, which is part of the museum's collection.
I had visited him several years ago, when the United Federation of Doll Clubs had their convention in Kansas City, and left covetous nose prints on his glass case. I wonder if the museum will let me "babysit" him while the exhibit is closed. I wouldn't want him to feel lonely and my seraglio of bathing beauties would provide him plenty of company!
Here he appears in the Galluba catalogue, to the far left of the second row.
Every collector has that one piece that he or she feels would help complete a collection. For me, it would be one of Galluba's bisque beach boys!