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, September 12, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

As first glance, Ms. #514 appears to be from the German firm of Dressel, Kister and Company.  The pose is one made by the manufacturer, she is of a fine pretinted china of the type often used by this company, and her brown, rather than the more usual blue, eyes are typical of Kister.  Although she is quite nicely done, to my mind, the workmanship is just not up to the high Dressel standards.  Instead of the blue "bishop's cozier" mark (which looks like a spiky backwards question mark) often found Dressel pieces, this little 4 inch long bathing belle is incised underneath "Made in Germany" and what appears to be an underlined "V."  Dressel was renown for its luxury porcelain items, and although it survived WWI, it struggled during the subsequent economic crisis, going bankrupt in the 1930s.  The City of Passau, where the company was located, acquired the factory and kept it functioning on a reduced basis until closing it in the 1950s.  Perhaps this brown-eyed girl is from the post-WWII production period. 

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