Stunning very large 18" antique bisque bathing beauty figure posed in a diving position. The quality of the bisque and decoration is impeccable. Nice 19th century example of bisque artistry, referred to by original artist as La Tuffolina, "The Diver". This bawdy babe is clad in her fashionable bathing suit and posed to dive off a rocky terrain or cliffs. She has beautifully molded and painted features, with a blond up-do hair with wavy bangs and ringlets in the back. Lovely deep eyes with wonderful expression. She is wearing a form fitted elaborated decorated coralline beaded blue swim suit with gold trim around the neck, sleeves and leg openings.
There is a mfg stamp on the base bottom which I can't make out. It is certainly European either French or German. The pinky fingers are missing at the end, Otherwise this large impressive figurine is in excellent condition.
About the original artist: In 1879, Italian artist Odoardo Tabbachi created "La Tuffolina" (the diver). According to a June 21, 1879, supplement to Scientific American, the pictured sculpture was "immediately purchased by the King of Italy." The article continues: "The figure could hardly be rendered more beautiful, elegant, or sympathetic, nor more graceful in attitude, representing as it does the bather in the act of diving into the water as if she was an expert swimmer." The article reports that the lovely Tuffolina had so many admirers, "the fortunate sculptor will have difficulty to fill all the orders he has received for copies." Tabacchi's delectable diver continued to attract admirers for decades, and many German firms, such as Dressel, Kister, and Company, produced their own adaptations of Ms. Tuffolina, in both bisque and china and in a wide variety of sizes, from diminuative damsels to super-sized sirens.
This is a large,18" substantial heavy figure, and quite remarkable looking in person. Much better than pictures.
Item ID: 1597
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