The vast majority of all-bisque dolls are children, so this early all-bisque lady is very unusual, especially as she was modeled with molded underwear (but still manages to look very prim and proper). Although her combination underwear resembles that worn by the fashion ladies by Galluba and Hofmann, she is more Victorian than Edwardian. Combination underwear was introduced in the 1870s to reduce bulk under the fitted jackets and narrower upper silhouette of the period. Combinations were worn through the Edwardian period, becoming frothier and sheerer, often inset with delicate lace and ribbons, and the cuffs climbing closer to the knees as hemlines began to rise. By the 1920s, the combination was reduced to the flapper's brief "step-in" chemise or teddy. This combination set, with its short sleeves, modest neckline, and longer legs, would date this demure matron to the late 1800s. She is of excellent sharp bisque and is delicately painted and beautifully modeled. Her mohair wig is a replacement and she is 4.75 inches tall.
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.