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, July 26, 2018

Otra Mujer de Misterio

Spain appears to be the land of mujeres misteriosas.  This unusual and sultry seƱorita recently arrived from that country.  Of a hollow papier mache material this exotic beauty is 17 inches tall,  Her size and the fact that her arms are on adjustable wires (which would have allowed her to be more easily dressed and posed) indicate that she may have been intended as a countertop mannequin.  Those arms are bisque, tinted brown, and had I not seen earlier the same model with the identical style of bisque arms, I would have thought they were replacements.  

The other example was fair complexioned with pink bisque arms and looking closely at her face and hairline, it does appears she may have started out with a lighter skin tone.  

However, her original wig certainly indicates she was created to be an olive-skinned Spanish beauty.

She is superbly sculpted, both back and front, from her shapely legs to her flirtatious face.

There is a single tantalizing clue to this baffling beauty's origins.  On the back of her base are the initials "M" and "R" intertwined in a circle, which would seem to indicate either her manufacturer or designer.  However, I have been unable to track down the name behind these initials.  

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Certain Charm Which is Likely to Captivate

Green and purple wigs and trouser skirts sound considerably worse than they look.  The Poiret version of the latter is a far more attractive garment than the skirt with the exaggerated slash, and under certain conditions it cannot be denied that the new colored wigs have a certain charm which is likely to captivate.  The general idea in the trade appears to be that these wigs will not be generally worn on the street, but that for evening wear they will have a decided vogue: worn with the right gowns, under the right light they show to considerable advantage.

Notions and Fancy Goods, April  1914

This papier mache miss has silver blue curls to match her silvery bathing suit, accessorized with a stiff skirt and headpiece trimmed with bits of teal feathers.  Her vivid coloring has survived for well over a century, although her feathers have molted a bit.

Although unmarked, this 10.5 inch tall bathing belle came with what were said to be the remains of her original box, with would indicate her birthplace was Germany.  Perhaps "Color RED" refers to her scarlet slippers.

The unusual color of her coiffure might give a clue to her age.   In 1914, the introduction of colored wigs created consternation.  The March 7, 1914, edition of the Australian newspaper, "The Advertiser," reported:

Has the fashion of colored wigs come, and come to stay? Yes, say the great coiffeurs; "at least, if it depends on us." There met (says the Paris correspondent of the London "Daily Telegraph") in epoch-making seance the "Fashions Committee of the Coiffeurs of Paris," and decided to let loose on Paris in balls, theatres, and fashionable cafes 400 "mannequins" with 400 colored wigs.

Published the same year, Colette's story, "A Hairdresser," features a hairdresser offering Colette a "pretty blue wig. . . .With two rows of little paste gems and a spray of paradise blue" to give her evening gown "a new look."  At the end of the story, the hairdresser brags that Berlin had ordered thirty of her colored wigs in "cabbage green, turnip yellow, Parma violet, and Prussian blue" for six to eight hundred francs apiece.