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, May 29, 2013

Bathing Beauty of the Week

This bizarre vase is part of a series by Hertwig and Company of Germany.  This particular peculiar piece was entitled "Der Gutmutige" (the good natured).  Atop the bald pate of a monocled man  perches a young woman in a short glittery dress.  There is a hole on one edge of the monocle and corresponding holes in the woman's hands, and if a cord is run through the holes, the woman appears to be playfully tugging at the man's monocle (as one friend said, she has "caught his eye").  Judging from the lady's brief and garish outfit, she is perhaps a showgirl of some sort and the man is her good natured and generous sugar daddy.  Of the finest sharp bisque, with excellent modeling and details, there is an opening in the back of the man's skull.  Incised underneath "1273," this piece is 5.5 inches tall.

This a copy of a Hertwig catalogue page picturing the entire strange series.  They are from left to right, the "The Lovers," "Grass Widow," "Merry Widow," "Suffragette," "Those Dames," "The Good Natured," and "Their Dream."  Note that the number in the catalogue matches that incised on the bottom of the above vase.

A friend sent me this picture of another of these Hertwig oddities.  This one, according to the catalogue page, is "The Lovers." What at first glance appears to be an out-of-place waterfall is actually the lady's fashionable fur stole and matching muff.

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