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.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 40

The 5.25 inch long bisque bathing beauty is incised underneath with mark of Schafer and Vater and number that appears to be "7923." Although she is an authentic antique, this lovely lass is currently being reproduced by Mundial Company of Belgium (click on "baigneuses" on the index to the left).  The antique original has excellent sharp bisque and modeling, while the bisque of the knock-off lacks the clean, sharp quality of the original.  In the original, the swimsuit (here bright orange, but it also came in blue) is cold painted, has a matte finish, and often shows some wear.  In the reproduction, the color is fired in, and is a dirty, slightly shiny orange with greenish shading or a dingy blue).  The crisply molded details of the original, such as her combmaked curls, and the flowing folds in her towel, are lost in the reproduction.  Mundial does not mark its products, which are often artificially aged to look worn and dirty (and also to disguise their often poor quality).  The repros are showing up in antiques and flea markets, as well as on-line auctions, where they are sometimes sold as antiques.  Although their quality falls well below that of the antique original, they can fool innocent collectors and honest dealers who have not had a chance to handle the genuine item.

I will not be posting tomorrow, so please check back on Sunday!

No comments:

Post a Comment