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, August 27, 2020

Hot Seat

Although their vaudeville career was relatively brief, the Five Barrisons Sisters inspired a wide variety of naughty novelties, as can be seen from the pages of this blog. These two bisque belles suggestively straddling a chair appear to be yet another. The babyish bonnets, long pleated girlish dresses, and the exposed black-stockinged legs are all hallmarks of the Barrison's act, often a mixture of innocence and double entendre. Five inches tall, this piece is incised on back of the chair's left back leg with four-digit number ending in "074" and is painted with a freehand "8" in black underneath.

Both Barrisons are sticking out their tongues, a gesture that is both infantile and immodest.

I suspect this figurine, like many portraying the Barrisons, was copied from a picture or postcard.  However, I so far have been unable to find the original photograph. I did find this poster for the Folies Bergère by artist Alfred Choubrac showing two of the sisters sharing a chair in a similar salacious style.

A slightly different seating arrangement showing the same two sisters.  I suspect these figurines may have been inspired by a series of studio portraits of these two sisters engaged in various off-color antics. Also 5 inches tall, this piece is incised on the crawling sibling's left thigh with "3076" and  there is a freehand "47" in red underneath. If the incised number for the first is "3074," then I wonder what these two were doing in figurine "3075?!"

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Another Zaiden Maiden

Previously on this blog, I posted videos featuring various clockwork cuties by Zaiden Toy Works. The post included this March 8, 1922, advertisement by Zaiden featuring seven dolls, which it declared are only part of the company’s “Sixteen new mechanical numbers,” and I wondered how many more of the company's shimmying and shaking sirens are still out there after over 80 years, waiting to be discovered? These dancing dolls were inexpensive souvenirs of the summer boardwalks and fall carnivals, quickly discarded when their mechanisms jammed or their composition began to flake. Few survived, and even fewer in working condition.  However, I have added yet another Zaiden maiden to my collection.  

This 13.5-tall  inch tall composition, wood, and metal mechanical doll wears her original nurse outfit.  She is Zaiden's "Nurse Girl" who, according to the ad reproduces "a human like motion of rocking a baby. The mother of them all." She has a head and torso of good quality composition and a mohair wig. Her face is nicely and brightly painted. The lower arms are wood and the hands metal, but the upper arms are flexible wire. Her upper legs are wood and attached to a U-shaped metal bar that curves under her body from hip to hip and her black lace-up shoes are metal. She is wound by a key jutting out of an opening in her lower back and would rock the celluloid baby (a replacement) cradled in her hands.  The mechanism is balky, but her clothes are fastened on with metal brads and I do not want to risk damaging her outfit to reach the mechanism to try to oil and clean it.