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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Ms. #446 is sweet and petite.  Just 2.5 inches long,  she is nicely modeled from good bisque  with delicate arms and legs free from her body.  She has an old, and possibly original,  blonde mohair wig and  ecru lace dress with a yellow ribbon sash and matching ecru lace panties.  There are no visible marks. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Heart-Breaker by the Breakers

This funny Valentine featuring a big-eyed bathing beauty was printed by George S. Carrington Greeting Card Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois, probably in the 1920s.  
 Seven inches tall, the flapper bathing belle's head swings back and forth on a small metal brad, allowing her to make big bright googly eyes to admirers on both sides.   The caption reads "Oh, You Heart-Breaker."

This is a pair of canvas bathing shoes from the same period, similar to those donned by the Valentine bather above.  They are as narrow as they look; they fit my AAAA feet just fine, but are probably too small for most of today's beach-goers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Most appropriately for Thanksgiving, Ms.  #442 shows off a very shapely pair of drumsticks.   Of fine sharp bisque, this boisterous belle is 4.5 inches tall and 2.75 inches wide .  Although unmarked, she is by the German firm of Schafer and Vater.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 62 Redux

Someone asked about Ms.  #441's odd pose and what she is supposed to be doing.  Here she is again, this time demonstrating with a sister Galluba that she is positioned to share a whispered confidence ("Don't look now, darling, but I think we forgot to put on our dresses, again.")

Now that I have revitalized this blog, I am going to slow down a bit, and instead of a bathing beauty a day, I will post each Wednesday a bather of the week.  This will be in addition to any other postings I think might be of interest to the collecting community, but rest assured that something will be posted to this blog at least once a week.

Also, as of December 1, 2011, my old website will cease to exist.  I will finish transferring all the remaining information from the website to this blog before then.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 62

Ms.  #441 is a dainty damsel by Galluba and Hofmann.  This 6.5 inch tall bisque seated lady has retained her original dark blonde mohair wig with a dark red silk headband trimmed in black beads,  but the rest of her Edwardian elegance has been lost to time.  Now she is clad only in her molded white one-piece underwear, pale blue ribbed stockings, and bronze boots.  She is incised “412” under her seat. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Big Girls Don't Cry . . . .

 . . . . especially when they are this extraordinarily large and lovely.  This gorgeous Galluba and Hofmann bisque bathing beauty is 12 inches high.  She retains her original mohair wig and is incised "426" under her base.


A close up pf her face shows the extraordinary detail of her face, including tiny teeth painted between her full parted lips.  Her bisque has the soft, subtle sheen of just-washed skin.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 61

Ms. #440 is a lissome leggy lass happy to hold your matches or toothpicks. This 4.75 inch tall figurine features the lady in sharp tinted bisque, while her basket is of precolored green bisque.   The piece is incised on back "5516" and painted with a "14" in black under the basket.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 60

If Ms #450 has a family resemblance to Ms. #381, it is because she is also by the German firm of Ernst Bohne Söhne, and she carries another version of the company's mark,  a blue stamp of a crowned  "N."  Of excellent bisque and decoration, she is 3.75 inches high.  Like her sister, the treatment of her tresses is unusual, as she has applied bisque curls in the front and molded combmarked locks in the back.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 59

Ms. #438 is a finned female atop a fantastic flower frog.  The 4.5 inch tall china frog features a lovely split-tail lorelei gracefully diving into the deep.   Other than a freehand red “41” underneath, the piece is unmarked, but is of fine German quality.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 58

Delicate and diminutive Ms. #437 is only  2 inches long and tall.   Of excellent bisque and modeling, there are even applied pink roses with tiny petals and green leaves in her dark blonde hair.   Stamped in black underneath "Bavaria," she is by William Goebel.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 57

Ms. #436 is another harem lady, this time in the form of a pincushion doll.  Of good china and well painted for her petite size, this small sultana is 2.75 inches tall.  She is unmarked, except for tiny freehand numbers "141" in black.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 56

Ms. #434 is a large and lovely harem dancer by Dressel, Kister, and Company.  Of excellent china and beautifully detailed and decorated, this 12 inch tall sultry sultana stands on a 1.5 inch tall wooden base.  Although unmarked, she is pictured, posing on a similar wooden base, in a 1911 Dressel catalogue.  Next to her is a silver cigarette case with an enameled picture of a nude in an almost identical pose.  Dressel often copied popular paintings and postcards of the day, but so far I have been unable to locate the original image that inspired both the case and figurine.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 55

Ms. #432 is a sister of Ms. #431 and is also attributed to Fasold and Stauch.  Of good quality china and decoration, this 5 inch long bathing beauty is incised "180" underneath.  Her left hand is pierced to hold an object. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 54

Lovely in lavender, Ms. #431 may be by Fasold and Stauch.  Of fine china and decoration, she is 3 inches tall and long and is incised "183" on her lower back.   Her left hand is pierced so that she could hold an object, like a little paper parasol.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 53

Ms. #427 is the sister of the previous Ms. #426, and like her sibling, inspired by the Barrison Sisters.    Not only is she shamelessly exposing her legs, she is even smoking a cigarette or slender cigar!  The Five Barrison Sisters posed in similar costumes, all holding cigarettes, a suggestive and scandalous gesture for a woman in the 1890s.   This china coquette is 5 inches long and is unmarked.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 52

Ms. # 426 is yet another figurine inspired by the bawdy Barrison Sisters.   The costume worn by this 5 inch long china coquette is molded after those worn by the five sisters during their stage act.  There are no marks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 51

Ms. #425 reclines on a ponderous powder box shaped like a seashell.  This 7.5 inch long, 5.5 inch  box of bathing beauty lying on a realistic whelk shell is of good bisque and is well modeled and decorated.  The top if the shell lifts off to reveal the recess within.  The piece is incised "4343" on back lower edge of box.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 50

Ms. #422 is a bathing beauty who really rocks.  This 3.5 inch comic character is a nodder, swaying from side to side on her sturdy legs.  Although unmarked, she is certainly from the firm of Schafer and Vater, who made a number of figurines featuring such obese bathing belles.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 49

Ms. #419 is a ravishing redhead who is as big as she is beautiful.   This 11 inch long china nude has striking large amber eyes completely outlined in black and surrounded by gray shadows.  Of the finest china and decoration, she is incised underneath “7156” and marked with a free hand “134” in flesh tone.  She is attributed to the German firm of Fasold and Stauch.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bathing Beauty of the Day; Day 48

Ms. #418 is a tambourine-playing harem dancer.  This  5.5 inch tall and 2.5 inch wide china vase, although marked underneath only with a freehand black "5," is from the German firm of Schafer and Vater.