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, March 31, 2016

More Variations on a Theme

This winsome miss in molded bathing togs is unmarked, but she is an unusual china bathing beauty by Galluba and Hofmann.  Although most of Galluba's belles are bisque, the company also produced charmers in china.  The company's china bathers appear to have come clad in molded bathing suits.  Although just as well modeled and decorated as the bisque versions, and probably less expensive to manufacture, as there was no need for a mohair wig and swimsuit of lace and ribbon, these china charmers are far less common than their bisque sisters.  Perhaps they were just not as popular with a public who may have been more attracted by the matte natural skin tones of bisque, the appealing outfits of real fabric, and the soft tresses of mohair.  She is 2.5 inches high and 2 inches long.

Here is the same model in bisque, with her original mohair wig, lounging about on an extra-large lobster.  This bisque bather is marked on her back “407 C.e.,”  typical of Galluba's 400 number series for its bathing belles.  Her shellfish steed is of china and is stamped underneath with the shield mark of Galluba, as well as incised under the tail “9937.”  The lady is 2.75 inches tall and 2 inches long and the leviathan lobster is 6.5 inches long.  There is a round hole in the upper portion of the lobster’s tail and his bareback rider (in more ways than one) fits into the hole with a wooden dowel.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Getting Wiggy

My last posting featured a trio of pretty petite pincushion dolls by Galluba and Hoffman with unusual molded tresses.  They appear here again, each posing with her wigged counterpart.  Only 1.5 inches tall, this brunette beauty is incised on the back of her base with a four digit number beginning with "96."  She has lower, as well as upper, lid lines, typical of Galluba. 

This miniature maiden has retained her original mohair wig, and she also has lower lid lines.  Again, just 1.5 inches tall, she is incised "9623" on the back of her base.

A tad larger, at 1.75 inches tall, this dark-haired damsel also still wears her original wig.  She carries a blurred incised number that appears to begin with "96."

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Doing by Halves

Generally, to say someone is doing things by halves means that person does things incompletely or without enthusiasm.  However, when Galluba and Hofmann did things by halves, they created something wholly beautiful.  This trio of petite pincushion dolls demonstrate the delicate detail Galluba lavished on even its littlest ladies.  

Although just 1.5 inches high, her arms were molded separately and are completely free from her body.  Her light brown molded hair is bound with a blue bow on each side, and her tiny face, with its large dark eyes and lush lips, is beautifully painted. She is stamped “Germany” in red underneath.

Another belle sporting a blue bow in her brown hair, this miniature miss is also just 1.5 inches tall.  Again, the arms were molded separately.  In addition to being stamped “Germany” in red underneath, she is incised with a faint number that appears to be “9906” on  the back of her base. 

The tallest of the three, she is a towering 1.75 inches tall, not including her original pincushion.   Perhaps because of her larger size, her face is slightly more detailed, with lower lid lines and nose dots.  She also wears blue bows in her light brown hair, which is twisted into a bun, and her arms were molded separately.  There are no visible marks.