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, July 25, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week


Ms. #490 is a lovely lorelei, probably by William Goebel.  Although her upper half is that of a warm-blooded woman, her legs are covered with blue scales and end in finned feet.  The earliest depictions of mermaids generally show them with this spilt tail, their scaly legs coiling like twin sea serpents.  The stylized mermaid in the Starbucks logo and the statue of the Little Mermaid in the harbor of Copenhagen are examples of split-tail mermaids.  Of good bisque and modeling, this undulating undine is 4.5 inches long and is unmarked. 

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