This big bisque bathing beauty is a real swinger. In the Victorian home, every possible inch was decorated, including airspace. Bisque and china figurines were made to hang from oil lamps and chandeliers, fan and shade pulls, hanging baskets, or hooks in front of windows. Most of these figurines were both relatively small and innocent, typically cherubic children sitting on a swing. This nubile nude is extraordinary not only because of the sensual subject, but her size; at 10 inches high, she is as large as she is lovely. Of the most exquisite bisque and decoration, she is superbly sculpted from her tumbled blonde tresses and ample curves to the texture of her hammock to her delicate bare feet. Her face is that of a Grecian goddess and her full-figured form is exposed in all its voluptuous beauty. This luscious lady also may have a literary allusion. She appears to have been inspired by the painting “Sara La Baigneuse” (Sara the Bather) by French painter Alexandre-Marie Colin (1798-1875) , which now hangs in the Musée Rolin in France (see last picture). In turn, Colin was inspired by Victor Hugo’s poem, “Zara the Bather,” from 1828 (“In a swinging hammock lying, Lightly flying, Zara, lovely indolent, O'er a fountain's crystal wave. . . .”). On the back of her right thigh, she is incised “489.” There are no breaks or repairs, which is extraordinary, considering the size and weight of this swinger and her previous perilous life perched high in the air. Surely very few of Sara’s sisters have survived to the present day! There are two thin kiln lines, one behind her right thigh and the other in the fold of her left knee. There is also a shallow mold line on the back of her right hip, near the ends of her long curls; it looks as if someone once tried to cover it with some sort of clear lacquer, as there is a small almost transparent drip by this line. These minor factory flaws are only visible upon the closest inspection and do not distract from this delicious damsel when she is displayed (although they attest to her age and authenticity).
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Antique Treasures from the Texas Hill Country
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