Agile Ms. #464 may be one of the rarest poses for a single bathing beauty created by Galluba and Hofmann. Not only did this figurine take great skill to mold and assemble, there are so many possible breakage points, from her extended slender arms to her delicate ankles, it is a wonder she survived intact. Of excellent bisque, she is 7.5 inches tall and is incised underneath “405 R.R.” She has been rewigged and redressed in silk ribbon and antique lace.
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.