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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fake Galluba and Hofmann Bathing Beauties

This bisque bathing belle has been appearing for years in antiques markets and online auctions. She is something of a lady of mystery. She is made of tinted bisque and has a uneven, and sometimes shiny, complexion. The bisque is rather rough, so it does not have the appearance of new bisque, and the painting is appropriate for an old piece. She often has a black long wig, but has also been found bald or in various outfits.

She is clearly a copy of this lissome and lovely Galluba and Hofmann lady. This genuine Galluba has the excellent bisque, flawless pale complexion, and exquisite workmanship that are the hallmarks of an authentic Galluba beauty. The modeling on the copy is not as crisp as on the original, which suggests the copy either was made from a worn mold or molded from an existing piece.

The face on the copy is rather well done. . .

but does not match the delicate and detailed features of the true Galluba. The intaglio eyes with deep pupils and white highlights are standard for Galluba. The copy does not have intaglio eyes, giving her a rather flat, vacant look. Whoever is making the copy is clearly using the Galluba face as a template.

Once it is set next to the extraordinary original, it is easy to distinguish the copy.

Mundial Company of Belgium is now producing its own version of this Galluba model. The facial painting and finishing on the Mundial copy of low quality, but could fool honest dealers and collectors who have not had a chance to handle the scarce and exquisite original. Mundial is also producing the figurine with painted stockings and a mask. Mundial has added to its already extensive line of half dolls, bathing beauties, and all bisque dolls, and all collectors and dealers should check out the newest catalogue website. So far, it appears the Mundial still continues to fail to clearly mark its copious copies. However, many of the pieces it produces, because they were made from molds taken from the antique originals, carry old numbers and marks. The peices are also often made look worn and dirty, giving these new items the look of authentic age. These new "old" items are appearing in antiques markets, shops, shows, and online auctions, where they are often offered as antique.

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