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, November 19, 2020

Brazen Behavior!

The image of a handsome beach beau courting a beauteous bathing belle who is seated in a wicker beach chair has appeared before on this blog. Of cold-painted bronze, this well-detailed statuette is just 4 inches tall.  The scene starts out innocently enough, with the man appearing to introduce himself with a gentlemanly bow. . .  

However, the object of his attention and affection is not fastened to her beach chair. Turn her over, and it is revealed that the bottom of her bathing suit is unfastened as well.

The figures are cast in poses that allow them to be placed in some pretty prurient positions. 

Although unmarked, this very bawdy bronze is most likely Austrian. Beginning in the mid-19th century, Vienna became the center of many foundries and ateliers producing finely crafted artistic bronzes.The most famous is the Viennese foundry of Franz Xaver Bergmann, which produced detailed bronze sculptures from the 1860s until 1936. Along with miniature animals, genre scenes, comic subjects, and Orientalist images, these foundries often produced a sizable variety of erotic bronzes. The two-part erotic pieces are scarce. The most commonly found feature a satyr and nymph who can be placed in a variety of positions, from innocent to indecent (some of these mythological couplings are currently being reproduced). Another rare piece features a prone nude aboriginal man blowing on the beginnings of a campfire while a lady friend sits nearby; in this piece, both figures are free from the base and can be fitted together so that they appear to be lighting a completely different type of fire. This is the first two-part naughty bathing scene theme I have seen. 

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