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 28, 2013

Brazen Hussies, Part II

This post continues my exploration of bisque belles by Schafer and Vater and their metallic mates.  This beguiling geisha is a bisque flipper by Schafer.  Of excellent sharp bisque, she is 5 inches wide and the caption incised along the hem of her kimono reads "The Yellow Peril."

Flip her over and you discover she has neglected to fasten her very Western knickers, her bare bottom framed by her ruffled petticoats and her legs clad in the black ribbed stockings so favored by Schafer.

Here is the same flipper in bronze.  The modeling is nearly identical to the bisque version, down to the folds in the kimono and the caption along the hem.

She is also a near match underneath, even to the ruffles of the undergarments.  This particular flipper has also been found in copper, aluminum, and other metals, but the casting is often of far lower quality, with many of the details blurred or lost.

Again, the question; which came first, the bisque or the bronze?  Because the bisque versions are so characteristically Schafer, and the metal maidens so closely copy their bisque sisters, I suspect that some foundry used the original Schafer pieces as models for its molds.  I wonder whether this was a partnership between Schafer and a foundry, or pure plagiarism. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

On A Roll(s)

Following my August 14, 2013, posting, a friend sent me a link to an article on the BornRich website about one-of-a-kind custom Rolls Royce mascots, which pictured the above "Naughty Lady" hood ornament from David Robson's 1912 Silver Ghost.  She is clearly a copy of Ms. #442, down to the incised design on the dress and the textured base.  I wonder if the artist in fact made the mold directly from a Schafer and Vater piece.  Maybe I should contact Mr. Robson about commissioning one for my car, but I doubt she would present quite the same panache on the hood of a 2001 Toyota Echo. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Brazen Hussy!

Ms. #442 has previously been pictured on this blog.  This lively and limber lady is by Schafer and Vater.

Here is the same model, but in cold-painted bronze instead of bisque.  Other than some small and subtle changes, such as the loss of the incised design on the bisque version's black dress, the bronze belle is identical to her bisque sister.  Unmarked and 4.5 inches tall, this heavy metal miss would have been a pulchritudinous paperweight for a man-around-town's desk.
The question is which came first, the bisque or the bronze?  Did Schafer copy the bronze to model its mold, or did some foundry use the Schafer lady for the bronze casting?  There is no evidence I know of that Schafer operated a foundry in addition to its prolific porcelain factory.  Yet, I have two other metal maidens in my collection that are most definitely bronze versions of well-known Schafer pieces.  One will appear in my next post.*
*By the way, I have begun to post every other Wednesday, as I have pretty much posted pictures of every item in my collection that is not already included in my second book.  Coming up with a new idea every week is not easy, so I have eased off a bit.  But I promise to post at least twice a month, so please continue to check back!