Recently on this blog I posted a charming china bathing beauty with her bisque sister, both by Galluba and Hofmann. Here is one more example showing how Galluba produced the same model in china and bisque. The 4-inch long china bathing belle is in full molded beach regalia, while the bisque bather is dressed in a bathing suit of silk net and ribbon. The china sister has molded brown curls peeking out from under her bathing cap, while the bisque sibling has a mohair wig. Although the china models would have certainly been less expensive to produce, as there was no need to dress and wig them, they are less common than the bisque versions. Although pretty and appealing, perhaps they were just not as popular with the public.
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.