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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


This is a fan that would make any bathing beauty collector pop his or her cork, a big, beautiful chromolithograph advertising fan from Moet and Chandon, advertising their White Seal bubbly, with each blade topped by a voluptuous bathing belle.  The colors, after all these many years, are bright and brilliant.  Chromolithography, first developed in the 1830s, provided printers with an inexpensive method to produce multicolored prints and paper products.  Chromolithography was used to create everything from fine art to postcards and paper dolls.  However, by the 1930s, the process was superseded by the even less expensive offset printing process.    

Each blade is 9.75 inches long, and when opened, the fan spreads out over 18 inches.  The first blade shows a siren in a striped suit surfing on a spray of champagne.

On the other end, this luscious lass prepares to dive into an oversized champagne glass.  Bottoms up!

The five inner blades each features a different bathing beauty enjoying her day at the beach.

But this fan is not just a frivolous fancy.  In addition to cooling a fevered brow (perhaps as a result as viewing this collection of curvaceous cuties), it serves as a calendar -- for the year 1906.