Although only 2.25 inches tall, this china full-figure bathing beauty pincushion doll displays amazing detail, from her delicately painted features to the fact that her graceful arms and shapely legs are free from her body. There are no marks, but William Goebel did use this type of unusual domed base for some of its pincushion ladies.
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 5, 2017
This very unusual mermaid by William Goebel is made to adorn the edge of an aquarium. Of excellent bisque, this sultry sea siren is 4.5 inches long.
Her folded arms are angled away from her body, forming a little ledge to fit over the lip of a fish tank. This perch is rather perilous, as a little bump can easily dislodge her, sending this fragile finned femme crashing to the floor. I suspect not too many of these nubile naiads survived.
She is stamped “Bavaria” in black on her left hip, a mark often used by Goebel.