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, April 11, 2019

Frog Prince

Open the door, my princess dear, 
Open the door to thy true love here! 
And mind the words that thou and I said 
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.

In the fairy tale "The Frog Prince," a princess playing by a well accidentally drops her golden ball into it.  A frog offers to fetch it for her if she promises to be his playmate and bring him to live with her in her castle.  The princess agrees, but when the frog returns her ball, she runs away, leaving, so she thinks, the frog behind,  However, soon the frog appears at the castle, demanding entrance.  When the king hears the frog's story, he tells his daughter she must keep her promise and she reluctantly allows the frog to sit by her at the table and eat out of her plate.  Later the frog demands that the princess carry him to her bedroom, place him on her bed, and let him sleep on her pillow.  In some versions, after the frog sleeps there for three nights, he turns into a handsome prince; in others, he changes after the princess either kisses him or, in a bizarre and violent twist, slams him against a wall.  

If this figurine of a kneeling nude confronting a rather forward frog was inspired by the fairy tale, it looks as if the ambitious amphibian has demanded a little more than merely sleeping on the lovely lady's pillow! Of excellent china, this figurine is this 5.5 inches tall and was created by the German firm of Galluba and Hofmann. 


From the woman's slightly smiling expression, she seems willing to accede to the frog's demands on the chance there might just be an enchanted prince involved.


Underneath the base the figurine is incised "21" and stamped in green with Galluba and Hofmann crowned shield mark.


Also incised on left rear edge of the base is what appears to be "L Lonk (or maybe "Lank?") Nov 25." It is not unusual to find a sculptor's signature on fine bisque and china figurines of the early 1900s.  Renown German sculptor Otto Poertzel (1876-1963) initially trained and worked as a porcelain modeler at A. W. Fr. Kister., where his father was already a designer, and some figurines from this factory are incised with his signature.  However, I have not been able to trace the artist of this female and her froggy friend. 


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