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, January 30, 2012

Where the (Beach) Boys Are

One question I am often asked is whether there are male bathing beauties, probably better referred to as beach boys.  Yes, there are, but they are far, far outnumbered by their female counterparts. Most beach boys are comic figurines, as is demonstrated by this piece by Schafer and Vater.  Incised with Schafer's crowned sunburst and "9593," as well as stamped "Made in Germany," this buffoonish bather is 4.5 inches tall.

Another comic figurine, this one is a nodder, and the man's head bobs up and down.  He has a wonderful character face and his large hands and feet are beautifully detailed.  He is incised "11" on the back of his head and "9311" on the back bottom edge of his robe.  Of excellent sharp bisque, he is 6 inches tall.

Not all beach boys are comic.  This handsome hunk by Hertwig and Company relaxes on the beach with a book, showing he has both brains and brawn.  Of good china, he is stamped "Germany" and incised "544."  He is 3.75 inches long.


I NEED A MAN.  More specifically, I need one of these guys. . . . 

This page from a 1990 Theriault's auction catalogue features two of the elusive beach boys made by Galluba and Hofmann.  

You can see one of the Galluba guys in this company catalogue page on the second row to the far left.  Every collector has that one piece he or she feels in necessary to complete his collection, and for me, it would be an example of one of these male bathers.  Someday my prince, or least a Galluba beach boy, will come (I hope).  If anyone out there knows where one of these bisque bathing bachelors is available, let me know.  I have a harem of lovely ladies who will welcome him. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week


Ms. #455 looks lovely as she luxuriates in her ruffle-edged bathtub.  Her sultry face is beautifully painted and her graceful hands are delicately modeled. 


Her bisque bath is actually a box and when the lid is lifted off, underneath is a completely different view of this literal bathing beauty.  This naughty novelty is 4 inches long and 3.5 inches tall  There appears to be "42" incised under the lid by her bare bottom.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Ms. #454 is a very voluptuous bisque beauty in black stockings.  She perches on the edge of a jasperware basket which may have once held matches or toothpicks.  Of the finest bisque, modeling,  and decoration, this luscious lass is 6.75 inches  Although she resembles similar ladies by Schafer and Vater, I think she is from another German maker.  She is unmarked except for a freehand brown “6” on bottom of base. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Ms.  #488 is undoubtedly the sister of Ms. #453, last week's featured bathing beauty.  While Ms. #453 was lovely in lavender, Ms. #488 is pretty in pink.  She sits on a settee, cuddling her kitty cat.  The detailing is delightful, even to the "fur" throw over the arm of the little loveseat,  Also unmarked, but of fine German quality,  this charmer and her cat are 2.75 inches long and 3.75 inches tall. Like her sister, her gown is trimmed with applied porcelain lace,

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Flurry of Fairies

This pretty pixie is pictured in my second book on page 132.  Her slender body has subtle curves and she is 3.5 inches long.  Of good bisque and delicately decorated, she is unmarked.  There is a small hole between her pastel wings, allowing her to "fly" from a bit of string.

Another shapely sprite, this one molded to kneel on the edge of a shelf.  She is obviously from the same supernatural series, which I attribute to Hertwig and Company.  

This little fairy is marked "Germany" in a circle on her extended foot.  Of the same good bisque and decoration, she is 3.5 inches long.

Also marked "Germany" in a circle, this unfortunate fairy must have fluttered into a spiderweb, because she has lost one of her gossamer wings.  However, these nude nubile nixies are so scarce, even missing a wing she is still collectible.  She is 2 inches high.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Ms.  #453, lovely in lavender, lounges on a little loveseat, joined by a feline companion.   I am not sure what she is holding up against her head; perhaps it is an icepack, soothing the result of too much partying on New Year's Eve.  Of good quality bisque and finely detailed and decorated,  this pretty miss and her pussycat are 3 inches long and high.  Her flowing gown is edged with applied porcelain lace.  There are no marks, but this piece is of fine German quality.