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.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Taking a Seat

Most bathing beauties recline, some sit on the ground, and a smaller percentage are made to stand.  Very few are molded in a sitting position because this would mean that the manufacturer or jobber would have to go through the extra expense of providing these little ladies a suitable seat.   The ever creative and thrifty Hertwig and Company solved this problem by using natural seashells, manufactured already by Mother Nature.  This little precolored bisque belle perches on a real shell.  She wears her original bathing suit and cap and is just 2.75 inches high, not counting her conch couch.  

Here she appears in the Hertwig catalogue.  As can be seen in the catalogue picture, Miss Shell, my belle, has lost the rayon ribbon trim that formed the suit's straps, as well as a little decorative bow on her left knee.   

Two larger versions of sirens seated on shells.  The catalogue refers to them as "Badedame auf echter Muschel" (bathing lady on a real shell).

Here is one of these larger ladies, sans shell, but comfortably seated in a wonderful little woven beach chair.  The cushion under her seat, which could have served to hold pins, has been hand painted with  the words "1,000 Islands."  Perhaps this was a souvenir from a visit to the archipelago of scenic islands where the Saint Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario (certainly a much more romantic notion than an advertisement for a popular salad dressing).  Also of precolored bisque, she retains her original swimsuit, complete with ribbons, and is approximately 3 inches tall.  

No comments:

Post a Comment