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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Bevy Of Bathing Beauty Bottles

The German firm of Schafer and Vater is renown for its comic or naughty nippers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  These novelty bottles once held a "nip" of alcohol and was often given away by saloons, liquor stores, or at carnivals as gifts or prizes.  Voluptuous bathing beauties in skin-tight swimsuits were a popular subject on Schafer's bawdy bottles.

This 5.5 tall bottle features a lithe lady moving slow and steady on the shell of her tortoise steed.  Although the blue and white bisque resembles Wedgwood jasperware, the white bas relief was not molded separately and applied to the blue background, but instead the effect was clearly created by carefully layering blue and white slip in the mold.  The bisque is excellent and the details sharply modeled.  Like many Schafer products, it carries only a number, in this case an incised “3877” on the back.

Another jasperware jug, this one featuring a bathing belle receiving a literal seal of approval (well, actually a sea lion).  Incised “3878” on back edge, this bottle is 5 inches tall. 

This 5 inch tall bisque bottle features a helpful elephant showering a smiling bathing beauty with both water and attention.  It is incised  “3877” on back.

The Schafer nippers were offered both in jasperware and tinted bisque.  This more conventional shower scene features a bathing belle rinsing off with her rather unhappy-looking canine companion.  Incised” 3864," this bottle is 8 inches tall.  

Another tinted bisque bottle, this one showing a swimmer having to deal with some very fresh seafood.  It is is incised “3876” on the back of base and is 4.5 inches tall.

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