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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I (Still) Need a Man!

As those of you who have followed this blog know, I am always on the lookout for a man -- or at least the male version of the German bathing beauty, those hunky beach boys in bisque.  So, when I saw this advertisement from Barbara's Dolls in the February 2012 issue of "Antique Doll Collector," my heart pounded with anticipation!

Alas, it was not to be, for another had already claimed him and his two companions.  The trio is by William Goebel, and while I do have the scarce Goebel sultan, this is the first time I have seen a male bather from this company. The blue and white striped suits are typical of Goebel.

The elusive gentleman with his flattened bottom for secure seating, gesturing hands, and long legs resembles this Goebel gal, clad now only in her molded underwear.  There are several different poses in this very hard to find series.  One wonders if Goebel modified a mold from this series to create the above beach boy.

A closer view of her face shows the painted lashes under the eyes, a detail sometimes found on Goebel fashion ladies and half dolls.  She also has the rather prominent nose typical of many Goebel ladies.  As I have noted before, Goebel's ladies, while equal in quality to their contemporaries from Galluba and Hofmann and A.W. Fr. Kister, often fail to match the cameo-like loveliness of Gallubas or the striking beauty of Kisters.  However, look at this laughing lady's expression.  What Goebels may lack in looks, they make up for in personality!

So, I continue my search for the perfect (bathing beauty) man!  If anyone comes across one, let me know.  I have over 500 lovelorn ladies who would make him most welcome!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Although Ms. #504 wears a pale yellow beach towel rather than a gown and goes bare-legged rather than clad in black stockings, she certainly appears to be from the same series as the voluptuous belles from the preceding three weeks.  Not only does she display the same sharp bisque and similar modeling, behind her is also a little attached container in green precolored bisque, again molded to resemble a wicker basket. Clad in an oversized bathing cap and a skimpy swimsuit, this bathing beauty is 5.5 inches tall and is marked underneath with an incised "5193"  and freehand "34" in orange.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Continuing our exploration of the mystery match or toothpick holders adorned with lissome long-legged lasses, I am reintroducing Ms. #440, who appeared earlier on this blog.  Like her sisters, she wears long black stockings and heeled pumps and has her full tresses twisted into a topknot.  Her gown, however, is white, not pale yellow, and lacks the raised designs (but is certainly every bit as revealing!).   She sits on a stool next to a basket of precolored green bisque.  This 4.75 inch tall figurine is finely modeled in sharp bisque, is incised on back "5516," and has a freehand "14" painted in black under the basket.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bathing Beauty of the Week

Continuing the theme of toothsome tootsies on toothpick holders, I am reintroducing Ms. #454, who appeared earlier on my blog.  She is certainly from this same series of sensual sylphs in blonde topknots, garbed in rather revealing pale yellow gowns and incongruous black stockings and high heels. Looking somewhat wistful, she sits on the edge of a basket of the same green precolored bisque as found in the containers attached to her two preceding sisters, but her holder lacks the raised white jasperware designs.  Like her sisters, she is of fine bisque and beautifully modeled.  Marked only with a freehand "6" on the bottom, this toothpick or match holder is 6.75 inches high.. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bathing Beauty of the Week

This lissome lass appears to holding out her wine glass for Ms #534 of the preceding week to fill.  They certainly make a pretty pair, but are not quite twins.  Although they appear to share the same hairstylist and identical taste in shoes and stockings, and both stand against similar jasperware urns, each wears her own unique pink and yellow gown.  While Ms. #534 is garbed in a more conventional, if revealing, dress, this nubile nymph's ample curves are barely contained in her draped robe.  Of the same excellent bisque and workmanship, she is 6.5 inches high and is incised underneath "4411."  Although sometimes attributed to Schafer and Vater, I think these sisters are part of a series by another German maker.  More lovely ladies from this series will be pictured in the next few weeks.