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. 

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