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.

Gebruder Heubach Bathing Beauties

This wonderful discovery, shared by a most generous collector, is an antique postcard picturing samples of products by Gebruder Heubach! Note the high model numbers, in the 10000s and 11000s.

"Betaubender Duft" -- dazing(?) scent. "Beim Aufsstehen" -- when awakening. "Nadelkissen" -- pincushion. "Perlenkled" -- beaded dress. "Rittlings" -- astride. "Schmetterling"-- butterfly "Sonneblum" -- sunflower. "Sekt" -- sparkling wine.

Reverse side. The back of the card features the company's square mark, registered in 1910. The text on the back says nothing about the nubile nymphs cavorting in the front, but instead urges the company's customers to get in their orders for Christmas and Advent.

This dainty nadelkissen (pincushion) is one of the delightful items pictured on that postcard.

And here is the same lady in the flesh (bisque?), sans cushion. In Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties, I included her in the chapter for Hertwig and Company (Illustration 06-006), because she so closely resembles the beautifully sculpted precolored bisque nudes by Hertwig. But we now know her true maker, and that Heubach also produced finely detailed and realistically modeled female figurines in pale, precolored bisque. She is 3" high and is incised "11043/2," matching the model number on the postcard.

Another Heubach sample, posing with a perfume bottle. She looks as if she is splashing on some scent (I am told that the German means "dazing scent.")

And here is the figurine as pictured in Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties (Illustration 06-011). Although I also attributed her to Hertwig, she is actually from Heubach! 5 inches high, she is stamped on her back in green with "Made in Germany" in a circle.

This figurine appears as "Sonneblume" on the postcard. Superbly molded in fine bisque, she is 6.5" tall without the stand (which is not original) and is unmarked.

This charming china nude is on what appears to be her original pincushion. The green ribbon around her waist replaces the original large green silk bow that was sadly disintegrating.  She appears on the postcard with the title "Nadelk. Beim Aufstehen" and a model number "11081/2." Nadelk. is no doubt an abbreviation of nadelkissen (pincushion), and "beim aufshehen" means "when arising."   The slender nude is approximately 4 inches long and 3 inches high and her pincushion is 5.25 inches in diameter. There are no visible marks.

This delicate dancer balancing on a single toe appears on the postcard as "Perlenkleid" (bead dress), with the model number 10774/2.  Here she is sadly without her perlenkleid and pincushion.  There is a hole in the toe of the right shoe that will fit over a slim supporting rod. She is 6.5 inches high, not including her base, and is unmarked.

Although this limber lass, clad only in unusual painted pale yellow stockings and matching pumps, does not appear on the postcard, I now attribute her to Heubach. The quality of the fine pale precolored bisque and the extraordinary modeling are not only similar to that of the nudes now known to be Heubach, her molded short wavy hair and heeled pumps match those of several of the figurines found on the postcard. Unmarked, she is 6 inches long.