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.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Creating a Powder Dish Puff

There are many fantastic figural powder dishes where a fluffy swansdown powder puff once formed a full fuzzy tutu for a lovely half doll as she posed in the powder. Unfortunately, over the decades, often the powder dish, the half doll, and the powder puff itself went separate ways. And while it is possible to find a suitable half doll for a base, finding the proper puff is much harder. Old swansdown puffs are scarce, expensive, and fragile and new down puffs are pricey. Plus these puffs really don't form a secure base for a valuable half doll. I have discovered an inexpensive way to both replicate the original feathery puff and securely display the half doll.

You will need wood glue, white craft glue, and a sharp craft knife. At your local craft store, buy a round wooden wheel, a round wooden dowel that will fit securely into the hole in the wheel's center, and a feather marabou boa in a color that will match your dish.

Place the dowel as high as possible inside the half doll. Slide the wheel over the dowel until it meets the base of the half doll. Mark where the dowel exits the wheel, and then cut the dowel so that it is flush with the bottom of the wheel.

Glue the dowel and base together with the wood glue and let it set. Once the glue has set, spread a layer of craft glue on top of the wheel at the base of the dowel.

Knot the end of the boa and slide it over the dowel, pushing it down on the glue. Once this has set, apply a line of craft glue around the rim of wheel, and wind the boa around the wheel, pushing it against the glue. After this dries, run a line of the glue around this marabou edge and wind more marabou around the base. Continue gluing and winding the marabou until you have a puff large enough to fit into the powder dish.

Place the finished feathery base into the dish and slide the half doll over the dowel. For more security, stick a dab of Museum Gel or glass wax under the wooden center of the base. This wonderful Pierotte powder dish is probably by the German firm of Fasold and Stauch. The powder dish is as big as it is beautiful. The base alone is 5.25 inches tall.  The amber-eyed flapper is by Carl Schneider and is 4 inches tall from her base to the top of her black bobbed hair. The only mark on the base is a faint number that appears to read 10287. The half doll is incised on the back of her base with a partically obscured five-digit number that begins 170.

Another example, in this case using black marabou. The 4.5 inch tall base is marked only France and may be from Henri Delcourt. The haughty half doll is 5 inches tall and incised 22489. She may be by the German company of Sitzendorf Porcelain, who used a 22000 series on some of its half dolls.

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