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, June 27, 2012
Ms. #481 appears to be very, very fond of her fine feathered friend. No doubt inspired by the myth of Leda, this slender siren and her swan swain are actually form a holder for a man's pipe. Attributed to the German firm of Fasold and Stauch, this pretty pair of interspecies paramours are 4.25 inches high and incised underneath "042."
Monday, June 25, 2012
. . . or at least my fountain does. An inventive German collector converted some of his squirters to tiny bubbling fountains using a small pump, and I was inspired to try with some squirters from my collection. I used a cat water fountain from Petco as the base (by the way, having tried a variety of such pet water fountains, I recommend the Petco product as the cheapest and easiest to clean and maintain), filling the two tiers with decorative aquarium gravel.
I ran a length of aquarium air tubing from the pump into the squirter. This little guy, modeled after the the famed Manneken Pis of Brussels, works exceptionally well, because unlike most squirters, the opening is in his back, rather than the usual top of the head. The opening is also smaller than is typical, allowing for a tight fit of the tubing. I also tested out a number of other squirters from my collection.
These ladies demonstrate why such naughty novelties were not meant to be used as perfume bottles. Not only does the liquid squirt out a surprising distance in a stream, rather than a mist or spray, the fluid heads off in two different directions.
While the most typical type of squirter is a little boy in his nightshirt, this Black version is much harder to find than his White counterparts.
This unusual squirter portrays an early firefighter; he is actually spraying water from a hose coiled behind his right leg. His helmet was designed to keep hot embers and ashes from falling down into his collar and the original was probably made of thick, tough leather.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Ms. #480 is a demure damsel who is just starting to come out of her shell. Of excellent china, she is 5 inches long and 3 inches high. Incised with "Germany" and faint number that looks like "Sp. 1116," she is attributed to Limbach Porzellanfabrik, which used this "Sp." mark on its products.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Sitting pretty on her hog (definitely not the Harley-Davidson kind), Ms. #479 is a powder or trinket box. This fetching flapper and her porcine mount are of china, and while unmarked, are certainly of fine German quality. The box measures 5 inches tall and long. I wonder why in past times there appeared to be some strange fixation with women prancing about on big pigs.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Victorian Trading Company, which specializes in selling Victorian and Edwardian inspired cards, clothing, and decorative items, is offering the following reproductions of naughties and bathing beauties in its current catalogue. The reproductions look to be of good quality and there is no indication where they were made or whether they are marked.
This is a copy of a flipper inspired by the Five Barrison Sisters, a music hall act of the 1890s. When she is flipped over, her bare bottom is exposed.
This is a copy of the turtle lady from the Germany company of Weiss, Kühnert, and Company. Her bare buttocks are revealed when the top of the turtle shell is opened.
This bathing beauty flower frog was originally produced by the Sitendorf Porcelain Factory, although other German companies produced similar items.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Ms. #478 seems oblivious to the salacious shellfish reaching for the hem of her bathing suit Boy, talk about fresh seafood! The front of this 3.25 inch high bisque bather and her lascivious lobster is slightly concave, so it could serve as a pin tray. There are no marks. I leave it to someone else to make the obvious "crabs" joke.