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, October 31, 2012

Bathing Beauty of the Week

This lovely lass with long flowing locks languidly plays with her frisky spaniel.  Of excellent creamy bisque, with subtle golden tints bringing out the details of her fine features, this 7.5 inch long figurine gives the appearance of being delicately carved from ivory or marble.  Under the springing spaniel, the piece is marked in blue with "Germany" and the cross-hatched "S" of A.W. Fr. Kister.  However, Porzellanmanufaktur Scheibe-Alsbach, the successor of Kister, following a rather convoluted history of sales and acquisitions, still uses the cross-hatch "S" mark, stamped in blue  This blue mark could date the piece anywhere from 1905 until perhaps into the 1990s.  She resembles an early series by Kister of such ivory-colored nudes, including one playing with her kitten, although the examples I have carry an incised "S" mark.  She is certainly of the same fine quality as these older pieces, and the fact that she has a tiny kiln line under one arm where it was joined to the body suggests to me that she is an older item.  Modern manufacturing methods have largely eliminated such factory flaws, although such diminutive defects are often found on even the finest early bathing belles.  Without access to the catalogues of Kister and its numerous successors, it may be impossible to date her, but I think I can safely say she is not of recent vintage.  She also is not common, as I have yet to see another example of this curvaceous cutie and her canine companion.

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