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, August 29, 2012

Bathing Beauties of the Week: Bruno Schmidt


 This large and lovely lady appears on page 130 of my book, Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties: German Bathing Beauties and Their Risqué Kin, in the chapter dealing with jointed bathing beauties.  However, I had neglected to mention her maker, Bruno Schmidt.  At first glance, she might pass for a fashion lady by Galluba and Hofmann, but there are many subtle differences: she does not have the standard Galluba oval face with large intaglio eyes outlined in black; her molded undergarments lack the ribbed texture of those worn by Galluba ladies; and her anatomy is much more realistically modeled compared to the Galluba ladies with their elongated necks, tiny waists, and exaggerated breasts and bottoms.  Instead of being marked with a "400" series number used by Galluba, she is incised on the back of the base with "3441."  Schmidt used a "3000" number series for its half dolls and bathing belles and many of its large half dolls have similar jointed arms.  Of the finest bisque, she is 10 inches tall and retains her original mohair wig.  


A close up of her serene and exquisite face.

Here she poses with a much smaller sister, who, despite her reduced size, still displays the same high quality bisque and workmanship.  Although their poses are different, the style of their original mohair wigs is identical.  The more petite of the pair is incised "3306."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

 Ms. #510 is a winsome wide-eyed harem lady (or at least the upper portion of one) by Schafer and Vater.  Of excellent china, she is 2.5 inches high and is marked with a freehand "3" inside the base.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

 Ms. #508 sits on the edge of a pin dish, cautiously eyeing the extra-large lobster that is ominously approaching her slender ankles and dainty feet.  Maybe he is just coming over to admire her bright yellow high-heeled shoes?  Of excellent china, this 3.5 inch round pin dish is incised underneath with the William Goebel crown over an intertwined "G" and "W" and "R.F. 642," and is also stamped in blue with the Goebel crown mark.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Ms. #493 isn't afraid of making an asp of herself.  This charming snake charmer doing the fandango with a fanged friend is a vase by the German firm of Schafer and Vater.  Of bisque, it is  5.5 inches tall and is unmarked. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Ms. #491 is yet another bathing beauty bottle by the German company of Schafer and Vater.  This particular bottle is glazed in blue, but the same nifty nipper (because it holds a "nip" of alcohol) can also be found in brown glaze and tinted bisque.  The double meaning caption is typical of Schafer, as "Life Preserver" could refer to either the inner tube on which the belle is balancing or to the booze within.  Incised "4263," the bottle is 5 inches tall.