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.

Additions & Revisions to My Latest Book

 William Goebel

This buxom bare bisque belle is pictured in Illustration 05-003 of Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties. She is 6.5" long and although she is unmarked, I attribute her to William Goebel.

Here is the same figurine, now clad in colorful bathing attire (German manufacturers often modified existing models, thus creating new figurines without having to go through the time and expense of creating an entirely new prototype). She is made of the same fine flawless rosy bisque, and displays the same ample curves and "come hither" expression.

Underneath her left thigh is the incised Goebel mark, a crown over an intertwined "W" and "G." She is also incised beneath her other thigh "1/9854" over "I" and stamped "Germany" in black on her stomach.

Galluba and Hofmann
A very generous collector in Germany shared with me this copy of a page from the catalogue of Galluba and Hofmann, one of the finest makers of bisque and china bathing beauties.


This wonderful matron with her strongly modeled and expressive features is a beautifully sculpted portrait of a more mature bathing belle. She is pictured in my book, Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties: German Bathing Beauties and Their Risqué Kin. She is also pictured on the catalogue page on the second row from the top, third figurine from the left (a similar version is on the bottom row). The catalogue page not only confirms that she is from Galluba, but that she is indeed all original. This very scarce beach bubbe is 5.5 inches long and 4.75 inches high. There are no visible marks.



Pictured on the top row in the upper left corner, this lovely lady is all original, except for her wig. She is 5.5 inches tall and there are no visible marks.








This bare bisque beauty, perched on a large china lobster, seems to be deep in thought. Maybe she is wondering where she get a bucket of melted butter. The same pair is pictured on the catalogue page in the second row from the bottom, second figurine from the left. My little lass has lost her bathing suit to the years, although she has retained her original mohair wig. The 2.75 inch tall bather is incised "407C.e." and her 6 inch long lobster is incised "9937" and stamped with the Galluba shield mark.

Another seaside siren on a shellfish steed, which also carries a stamp of the Galluba shield mark. Of excellent china and beautifully decorated, this figurine is pictured on the second row of the catalogue page, third from the right. This piece is 4.5 inches tall. 

Gebruder Heubach

And 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" 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.

Schafer and Vater

In my newest book, Bawdy Bisques and Naughty Novelties: German Bathing Beauties and Their Risqué Kin, I attribute many figurines to the German firm of Schafer and Vater. Schafer did not mark many of its products, so I based my attributions on comparisons of unmarked figurines to marked Schafer items, as well as certain modeling characterics typical of Schafer's unique style. Thanks to the generousity of a fellow collector in Germany, who sent me copies of some Schafer catalogue pages, I can now confirm that some of the figurines I attributed to Schafer were definitely made by this company.

One image of a pin dish from the catalogue. . . .

and the same pin dish pictured in my book as Illustration 21-004 on page 89. This 2.75 inch high and 3 inch long figurine is also incised "3444," the model number listed in the catalogue.
A naughty flipper from the catalogue. . .


and two similar versions, top and bottom, pictured in Illustrations 34-017 and 34-018 on page 164. Neither is marked, but then, where could you put the mark without marring the design? The larger flipper is 3.25 inches high and the other 3 inches.

The catalogue only pictures the front of this flipper. . . .


but I know it is a flipper, because both sides are pictured in Illustrations 34-021 and 34-022 on page 166. The 6 inch tall flipper, like so many Schafer items, is unmarked. There is also a slightly smaller and less detailed version that appears to have been made by another Germany company copying the Schafer design.

 A limber lass from the catalogue.
This agile bisque belle in black stockings is unmarked and is 3.5 inches tall.
The catalogue shows only this Black beauty's "good side."  

However, she has a risqué secret, as demonstrated by an example in my collection, for when she is flipped over, her bare bottom is exposed to view. Of sharp bisque, she is 3.75 inches long and is unmarked.

The caption on this piece in the catalogue states, "A Very Fine View."  The caption is typical Schafer humor, indicating that not only are the young ladies enjoying a scenic lookout,  the observer behind them is treated to an equally fine view.
This 3.75 inch tall comic pin dish is incised "3745," the same number as shown in the catalogue.

Ernst Bohne Söhne

This lissome lovely in black stockings and showgirl garb appears in my book and is attributed to Ernst Bohne Söhne. Of the finest bisque and highest quality workmanship, she is 3.25 inches tall. The treatment of her hair is very unusual, because the curls are applied only in the front, and the back of her tresses are molded. Her eyes are quite striking, the light blue iris set off by a dark blue edge.

Here is her mark, a crowned "N." However, this mark was widely copied, appearing not only on pieces from other German factories, but also figurines from Italy and Japan.

This beauty in a bonnet is certainly the sister of the preceding figurine, the family resemblance including the unusual applied curls in the front and the darker accent line around her light brown irises. She is 3.25 inches high.

She is also marked, this time with an incised "B" intersected by an outline of an anchor (I have darkened the mark with pencil to make it stand out). This incised mark was also used by Ernst Bohne Söhne and confirms that the first figurine with the crowned "N" mark is most definitely from this factory.
This comely clown is another from this desirable Ernst Bohne Söhne series. She carries the crowned "N" mark in blue and is 3.5 inches tall.