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, December 22, 2016

Dresden Dolls

As delicate as her dress, this lovely little lady layered in porcelain lace is by the German firm of Galluba and Hofmann.  Although a mere 3.5 inches long, the facial features of this bisque belle are as detailed as those on her larger sisters, as is her original mohair wig.  To create her ethereal finery, real lace was dipped in porcelain slip and draped over the figurine during the greenware stage.  When fired, the lace burned away, leaving only the thin porcelain shell.  Many dealers and collectors refer to this as Dresden lace, after the porcelain-making area of Germany where the many companies used this technique, although porcelain factories throughout Germany produced such "spitzenfiguren."  The airy bathing suit or sundress is beautifully done, using two types of lace; a fine net makes up the majority of the dress and details such as shoulder straps and a bow at the waist, while an eyelet material was used to create an underskirt, as well as to trim the bodice.  Sadly, as is so typical of this fragile porcelain lace, there is some damage to the front of her skirt, but it is amazing that so much of her frail outfit is still intact after a century!

Here she poses with two more dainty diminutive damsels from this scarce series.


  1. I have followed your blog ( and before that, your Web page) for years and have never taken the time to thank you for such delightful images and research. Although I do not collect these figures, I find them charming examples of a time when "naughty" was not vulgar. Please accept my thanks and my hope that you will continue to share your collection with us for many years to come!

  2. Thank you for your very kind words. I hope you and those you love have a prosperous and healthy coming year!