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, February 22, 2018

The Rambling Female Sailor

With jacket blue and trousers white
Just like a sailor neat and tight
Sure the sea it was the heart's delight
Of the female rambling sailor.

When in storm upon the raging sea
She was ready at her station
And her mind was as calm as calm could be
She loved her occupation.

                                                                             Rambling Female Sailor, circa 1830s

In the old folk songa young and pretty maiden decides to dress as a sailor and run off to sea.  Although this bathing beauty wears a swimsuit rather than "jacket blue and trousers white," she certainly appears to be calm and content as she sails her rather undersized schooner over the bounding main.  Of good china, this sea-going siren is actually a trinket or powder box.  Incised above waves on the back “Germany 10782, this belle and her boat are 5.5 inches high and 4 inches tall. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Supreme Flash of 1927

This flirtatious flapper certainly has a lot of flash in her form-fitting gold glitter bathing suit.  Of plaster, this golden girl is 16 inches tall.

Her sparkling slippers stand on a base incised "© N.S. Statuary Co." 

This advertisement from the May 28, 1927, edition of "The Billboard," a publication for carnival concessionaires, features the same glittery gal by North Side Statuary Company of Chicago, Illinois.  Entitled "The Supreme Flash of 1927," the ad declares that this "new original copyrighted" bathing beauty doll is "already proven the biggest money-getter this year."  This shimmery sea-side siren is described as "natural flesh tone with highly attractive metallic bathing suit" who looks like she "just stepped out of the surf" and is a "Bathing Beach Banner Money Getter." Sounds like she's a bit of a gold digger! Packed 20 to a barrel, these twinkling tootsies were one dollar each.  

For an inexpensive carnival prize, this bathing belle is surprisingly well sculpted and decorated, with a most appealing presence.  No doubt she tempted quite a number of nickels out of the rubes' pockets in her heyday.