Ms. #380 is a diminutive demure damsel from the German firm of Galluba and Hofmann. Just 3.5 inches high, this standing lass is beautifully modeled from her delicate hands to her dainty feet in light blue pumps. In addition to her garments (she probably was once adorned in Edwardian elegance), she has lost her original base, and someone made a new one for her. Her mohair wig is a replacement. Of excellent bisque, she is incised with what appears to be “420” on the back of her right thigh.
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.