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, January 29, 2015

Tripping the Light Fantastic

Com, and trip it as ye go,
On the light fantastick toe.

John Milton, L'allegro (1645)

This terrific twosome tripping the two step was made by Hertwig and Company.  Of excellent bisque, these dancing damsels are 5.75 inches and are unmarked. 

Here they appear in the Hertwig catalogue, where they are listed as "Two Step."  Their colorful outfits are covered with flocking, giving the appearance of velvety fabric. Hertwig described this treatment  as "mit irisierendem, seidenartigem, ├╝beraus farbenpr├Ąchtigem" (with very colorful iridescent silk).  Flocking is fragile and wears easily, as can be seen on these girls' gowns.

There seems to have been an Edwardian fascination of figurines of lovely ladies doing the daring dances of the day.  This curvaceous couple has appeared previously on this blog.  Of excellent china, this 8 inch tall figurine is by Galluba and Hofmann and is incised "9039" underneath. 


Galluba appears to have been inspired by this postcard by Spanish artist Luiz Usabal Y Hernandez (1876-1937).

These bisque belles have also previously appeared on this blog.  They are clad in gowns covered in glitter, described in German catalogues as "flitter gold."  This figurine is 5.25 inches tall and incised “Germany 8918.”

They were also copied from a Usabal postcard.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

But Pussy and I Very Gently Will Play. . .

I love little pussy,
Her coat is so warm,
And if I don't hurt her,
She'll do me no harm.
So I'll not pull her tail,
Nor drive her away,
But pussy and I,
Very gently will play.

Pussy has long existed as a double-entendre, both as an affectionate name for a cat or a girl and as a vulgar reference to female genitalia.  The Barrison Sisters created a entire act around their pussies and German companies produced risque bisque figurines portraying pulchritudinous ladies playing with their pussy. . . cats.  Dressed only in her chemise and black stocking, this femme and her frisky feline friend are part of a series of damsels in dishabille with their pussies peeking out from under or between their legs.  Incised with number that appears to be “6355” and a freehand red "14" underneath, this paronomastic pair is 2.5 inches long and 2.75 inches tall. 

Two more coquettes and their kitties from the same series.  I have yet to identify the maker, but they are of German quality.  The seated lady is 3 inches tall bisque and incised underneath with number that appears to be "4899" and a painted freehand black "14." Her reclining sister is 4 inches long and unmarked.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Two New Year Babes

These two nubile nudes are by the German firm of Gebruder Heubach.   Although best known among collectors for its bisque figurines and dolls of charming character children, Heubach also created a wide variety of china and bisque figurines, often with a hint of art deco.  Its bathing belles and nudes are realistically modeled and beautifully decorated, but are also fairly hard to find.  Both of these lounging lasses are 7 inches long.

Another reason these Heubach bathers and nudes are often overlooked by collectors is that the figurines typically do not carry the company's mark, but are marked only with an incised number and a green "Made in Germany" inside a circle.  Both of these bare belles carry the circle mark, and the one on her side is incised with a partial number that appears to be "95/3."

The Heubach bathing beauties have a unique look, with rather square faces, narrow eyes, and short sleek bobbed hair.  Unlike the Heubach children, who are often portrayed as smiling or laughing, the ladies have rather enigmatic, introspective expressions.