This pretty pair of bisque vases feature bathing beauties toying with their beach towels. Both are incised underneath with the Carl Schneider "G" pieced by two vertical arrows and "DEP 12223 Germany." Each vase is 7.45 inches high. They are both superbly modeled out of excellent sharp bisque and beautifully decorated. Some collectors refer to these as "spill vases." A "spill" was a thin wood stick, long wood shaving, or tightly rolled bit of paper; before the availability of inexpensive commercial matches, the spill would be used to transfer a flame from the fireplace, such as to light a candle or pipe. Cylindrical spill vases holding the prepared spills were conveniently placed on the fireplace mantel. During the Victorian era, spill vases became ever more decorative and figurative spill vases often are found in pairs. However, by the time these beach belles were produced, the abundance of inexpensive matches had long made spills, and the vases that held them, unnecessary. But the fashion of matching or complementary figural vases to adorn a mantel or shelf continued.
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, January 16, 2020
I have not been posting because I was in the midst of purchasing a new home and then moving and unpacking. But as things have settled down and I am settling in, I will try to restart my bi-weekly posts. This nubile nude reclines on her original box, which is padded and covered in golden brocade. Her original light brown mohair wig is adorned with a fringe of fine golden-brown feathers and her pink slippers have molded, but undecorated, straps. Her graceful hands are exceptionally delicate and detailed. Of excellent bisque, this luscious lass is 5.5 inches long. There are no visible marks. One wonders what sort of elegant treat or treasure once resided in this beautiful box!
On the bottom of the box is round gold and white paper label reading "Gump's 268 Post St. San Francisco." Gump’s started in San Francisco as a frame and mirror store in 1861, a partnership between Solomon Gump and his brother-in-law, Davis Hausmann. Gump subsequently bought out Hausmann's interest in the firm and in 1871 was joined by his brother Solomon, the business becoming "S & G Gump: Mirrors, Mouldings, and Paintings." As newly minted millionaires from the gold rush started shopping for fancy goods to furnish their new mansions, the Gump brothers began to specialize in lines of fine quality luxury goods. Following the San Francisco earthquake, the Gumps had to rebuild. In an advertisement from the June 12, 1909, edition of "The Argonaut," S & G Gump Company extended a "cordial invitation to the public to visit them at their new quarters at 246-268 Post Street." Although most sources I found refer to the location as 250 Post Street, I have come across references to the 268 Post Street address up through the 1930s. This helps date this beauty on her box to the early 1900s. Operating under the motto, "Good taste costs no more," the store became known for its carefully curated offerings of luxury goods and was particularly renown for its collections of Oriental art and antiques. In 1995, after losing its lease, the store moved to 135 Post Street. Gump's filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and closed its store on December 23, 2018. However, in December of 2019, Gump's was reborn at the 250 Post Street location.
Although she has long lost the bottom of her box and whatever label it may have had, this 3.5 inch tall voluptuous bisque belle came from the same source. She appears to be from the same maker as the lounging lady, with the same finely-sculpted hands and pink slippers with molded, but unpainted, ties. Her box lid is covered in almost identical golden paisley brocade. The long reddish-brown mohair wig appears to be a replacement, but she retains her original skirt of embroidered tan, reddish-brown, and gold fabric trimmed with tarnished gold lace. She also carries no visible marks.