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, September 4, 2014

Taking a Seat

Most bathing beauties recline, some sit on the ground, and a smaller percentage are made to stand.  Very few are molded in a sitting position because this would mean that the manufacturer or jobber would have to go through the extra expense of providing these little ladies a suitable seat.   The ever creative and thrifty Hertwig and Company solved this problem by using natural seashells, manufactured already by Mother Nature.  This little precolored bisque belle perches on a real shell.  She wears her original bathing suit and cap and is just 2.75 inches high, not counting her conch couch.  

Here she appears in the Hertwig catalogue.  As can be seen in the catalogue picture, Miss Shell, my belle, has lost the rayon ribbon trim that formed the suit's straps, as well as a little decorative bow on her left knee.   

Two larger versions of sirens seated on shells.  The catalogue refers to them as "Badedame auf echter Muschel" (bathing lady on a real shell).

Here is one of these larger ladies, sans shell, but comfortably seated in a wonderful little woven beach chair.  The cushion under her seat, which could have served to hold pins, has been hand painted with  the words "1,000 Islands."  Perhaps this was a souvenir from a visit to the archipelago of scenic islands where the Saint Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario (certainly a much more romantic notion than an advertisement for a popular salad dressing).  Also of precolored bisque, she retains her original swimsuit, complete with ribbons, and is approximately 3 inches tall.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Catalogue Girl

 This large lovely lady from Galluba and Hofmann strikes a graceful, but very scarce, pose.  She is 6.5 inches long and incised "423 RR" underneath.  As is so typical of Galluba, she is of the finest bisque, decoration, and modeling.  Her mohair wig is a replacement.

This pose appears twice on this page from the Galluba catalogue, in the second row from the top, once with a mohair wig and once with what appears to be a molded bathing cap. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This Bathing Beauty will Bring a Smile to Your Face. . . .

literally, in fact, because she is a toothbrush holder.  The chore of brushing your teeth would be a treat when you had this flirtatious flapper to look at.  Of excellent china, this brush-holding belle is 4 inches tall and 3.25 inches wide.  On each side of the yellow base is a small rectangular opening for holding a toothbrush. 

While most vintage toothbrush holders were made to stand on a sink or bathroom shelf, this holder would have hung on a wall, with the triangular opening for a nail or hook.  I suspect not too many survived, because a careless bump could send this fragile femme crashing to the tiled floor and her demise.  This piece is incised on back "777" and is of fine German quality. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Galluba and Hofmann Beach Babe. No, Really, She is!

At first glance (and probably second and third), a collector would not recognize this graceful Japanese lady as a product of Germany, much less by the firm of Galluba and Hofmann.  She appears to be a delicate Japanese okimono carving, but she is in fact of porcelain, tinted and decorated to resemble a fine ivory statue.  Under her base, this 7.5 inch tall figurine carries a partial stamp of Galluba and Hofmann shield in dark green and is incised  "4628."  And this beauty is on a beach!    She has tucked her skirt up into the wide obi and has tied the ends of the full sleeves together behind her back to protect her elaborately ornamented kimono from the sand and surf as she collects seashells along the shore.  Her basket is full of selected shells, and more are molded at her feet.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Just Kicking Back

This 4 inch tall comic cutie, although unmarked, cannot be by anyone other than the German firm of Schafer and Vater, who excelled in making this sort of wacky and wonderful novelties.  When her legs are tapped, this well-upholstered bathing belle swings them back and forth for a surprisingly long time.  She is of excellent sharp bisque and modeling.

I have updated my The Curse of Frankendoll with new information and pictures, including a photograph of a huge array of Frankendolls being sold at a 2014 German doll market.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dainty Damsel by Galluba and Hofmann

This lissome lass in her molded undergarments is a bisque fashion figure by Galluba and Hofmann,  She retains her original mohair wig, but has lost her outer garments of real silk and lace to the many passing years.  Her previous owner made her the necklace out of antique beads so tiny, they had to be strung on a human hair.  Just 5.75 inches tall, this lovely little lady is marked "406."  This rather shy and demure pose, with her hands folded behind her back, is very unusual for Galluba, whose ladies typically gesture gracefully with outstretched arms.