I have written books on bathing beauties, but here is a bathing beauty on a book. She is part of the series of sea sirens by Sitzendorf Porcelain Factory, pictured earlier on this blog. In fact, I may be personally acquainted with this particular lady and her lobster, as in 2014 I sold a duplicate figurine to a photographer who said the piece might be pictured in a book on Maine! I am a fan of Ann Beattie, and already had planned to buy her book, but now I may have to buy it in hardcover, rather than on my Kindle, so I can have a picture of my cover girl!
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.