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.
One question I often get from fellow bathing beauty collectors is where to buy new wigs to replace their treasured bathers' missing tresses. Although these bisque belles look charming without their bathing suits, they do look rather odd with bald pates. I have never found a source for suitable tiny wigs, and over the years learned to make my own, using the original mohair wigs from some of my Galluba and Hofmann bathers as models. So this month I explain my wig-making technique.