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, September 26, 2019

Yet More Barrison Sisters. . . .

The naughty bawdy vaudeville career of the Five Barrison Sisters was relatively brief, but, as can been seen on this blog, they were the inspiration for bevies of risqué bisque novelties.  This example has an exceptionally pretty face.  The detailed painting of the slightly intaglio eyes and the overall fine quality suggest to me that this lovely lass is by the German firm of Ernst Bohne Söhne.  Unmarked, she is 3.5 inches tall.

Although there may be a question concerning her maker, there is none regarding her identity.   Her pose and costume was clearly copied from the second sister on the left pictured on this 1895 cabinet card.

No doubt from the same maker and inspired by the same photograph, this bisque belle is 4 inches high.  She is the three-dimensional doppelgänger of the sister pictured on the far left.

She copies the pose even to the cigarette between her rosy lips.  However, in this case, the cigarette is actually a small metal tube.

The tube extends down into the figure's hollow interior.  It appears plausible that if a cone of smoldering incense was placed underneath, she would appear to smoke.


  1. Sharon,
    After several years of collecting Barrison sister items, I believe the sisters in your picture, from left to right are:
    Inger, Gertrude, Lona, Olga and Sophia.
    I saw & bid on (but unfortunately lost) an auction for an autographed cabinet card. Each sister had signed her name over her image. You may be able to find a picture of the card on-line however it'll take some effort.

  2. Thanks for the information! I will keep an eye out for that card.

  3. Sharon,
    Found it...


  4. Hi Sharon
    Can I use your photo of the smoking sister in a publication?

    Best wishes