Blonde, buxom, and bawdy, the Five Barrison Sisters once billed themselves as the "wickedest girls in the world." Granted they were performing in the 1890s, when the bar for wickedness was pretty low, but the five sisters (and they were indeed siblings) tantalized and titillated music hall audiences in Europe and the United States with their on-stage naughtiness. Often dressed in girlish costumes, with frilly bonnets and long ruffled dresses, the sisters would warble songs full of double-entendres and sexual suggestiveness (and somehow always managed to show off their shapely legs, always clad in black stockings) German porcelain companies were quick to cash in on any trend, and produced a number of figurines inspired by the Barrison’s naughty on-stage antics (German companies often copied popular prints, photographs, and postcards of the day, and it is doubtful the the sisters earned any royalties these creations). This figurine is taken from a series of postcards featuring two of the sisters engaged in rather risqué (for the times) poses. In this bawdy bisque rendering, one sister is on her hands and knees, while the other straddles her back (revealing her slender ankles and black stockings!). The bisque is excellent and the modeling is sharp and detailed, from the girls’ blonde curls, to the folds of their long dresses. Although unmarked, I attribute this frisky figurine to H. Hutschenreuther Porzellanfabrik, as it resembles a marked piece by this company in my personal collection which shows all five Barrisons. Additionally, this figurine is incised “3076" (just above the left knee of the crawling cutie), while my marked piece is incised “3064.” Underneath, there is also “47” painted in dark pink.
These two daring damsels are around 4.5 inches tall and 4 inches long. They are in wonderful condition for their age with no breaks or repairs. There is a little mold debris under the bottom edge of the crawling woman's skirt , but it is not visible when the piece is displayed. There is also a small spot on the back of the left top ruffle of her bonnet that could be a small mold flaw or a chip; I have examined it using a 30X loupe and cannot decide, but I tend to think it is a factory flaw, or maybe even the way the bonnet edge was molded, as it does not affect the integrity of the bonnet, is barely visible, and is smooth to the touch. It is only visible upon the closest inspection, and even is hard to see then.
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Antique Treasures from the Texas Hill Country
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