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 28, 2017

Happy New Year!

Ending this year with a very different type of gal by Galluba and Hofmann.  This 4.5 inch tall little girl with her pet piglet is coated with finely ground bisque referred to as "snow."  Such snow children, often referred to as "snow babies," were first made in Germany in the early 1890s and were popular Christmas decorations through the early years of the 1900s.  Galluba produced a variety of such snow children figurines with different decorative treatments.  Some like this example were tinted with a soft faint golden brown wash, giving the appearance of ivory or alabaster, while the snow is a faint gray or slate. Others were fully colored.  Sometimes the snow covered just the base and was lightly sprinkled over the children's heads and shoulders and in other examples it completely covered the children's clothing.  The snow might be left realistically white or, when it coated clothing, colored blue.  As with all Galluba figures, the quality of the modeling and workmanship was always high.  Her piglet pal holds a four-leaf clover, a sign of good luck, in its mouth.  In Germany the pig itself was also considered a sign of good luck and prosperity. A person who is lucky might say "Ich habe schwein gehabt" (I have had pig). It is traditional to give gifts of candy pigs known as glücksschweinchen (good luck pigs) at Christmas and New Years and such propitious pigs were often featured on Christmas and New Year postcards.  Underneath, this snow child and her swine are incised "4644."  Galluba used a 4000 series number on its snow figurines.  Not all lasses with lucky pigs are so sweet and innocent; earlier on this blog I posted some more adult-oriented examples of German glücksschweinchen.

Here is a colored version offered by Theriault's, sharing the base with a little boy.  These charming children are 4.5 inches high and incised "4666."  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

In the Mode

This fashionable fräulein clad in the epitome of Edwardian elegance takes her shaggy terrier for a stroll.  Her formfitting gown of emerald green and black is textured fine flocking, giving it the appearance of fabric.  This 7 inch tall bisque vase is incised “1071” on bottom back edge of vase.

She is part of a series of fashionable figures by Hertwig and Company of German, advertised in their catalogue as "Figuren mit Paperhüten und mit Tuchschur bemalt" (figures with paper hats and painted flocking). This lady has lost her original crepe paper hat and mohair wig, which someone has replaced with a turban of blonde mink.  As this catalogue picture shows, she has lost not only her original headdress, but also her male companion, as the set was advertised as "Paar Modefiguren" (pair of fashion figures).  The difference in the model number in the catalogue may be related to size, as the pictured set was advertised as 13 centimeters tall, or just over five inches in height.    

A close up of her face, showing the flirtatious glance and subtle smile she once granted to her now absent gentleman admirer.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Gentle as a Lamb

The lovely lady with her loving lambkin is a big and very unusual figural powder dish.  The little lamb is the dish and a fluffy powder puff forms its fleece.

 Superbly sculpted from all sides, this piece is 6.5 inches long and 5 inches.  It is incised underneath “13746.”

Her slim, rather square face with narrow elongated eyes resembles those of certain delightful deco damsels by Gebruder  Heubach.