A Very Scarce c.1910 Papier-mâché & Plaster Advertising Shop Window Display Figure Modelled as a Youth for Vinolia Soap


Origin: English
Period: Edwardian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1905-15
Height: 16.5 inches
Width: 4.5 inches (at base)
Depth: 4 inches (at base)

The hand painted plaster and papier-mâché advertising figure designed to be displayed in a shop window to advertise Vinolia Soap, modelled as an unkempt youth dressed in period attire to include jacket, shorts, long socks and shoes, standing with hands in pockets, the whole standing on a pea green square plinth base inscribed ‘Vinolia’, and ‘Albrico’ to the interior, hails from Edwardian period England.

The figure is in fair condition considering it is of papier-mâché and plaster and over a century old, though he does have expected chipping to most areas and he proves more pliable and is softer to the touch than he once was especially to the base where the sides are bending slightly. His colours remain relatively vivid, his face is in good overall order as is his costume, with the most amount of chipping and wear to the base. He proves wonderfully decorative in this condition and we feel he proves charming and more desirable than if he were restored.

Richly fragrant for over 100 years, Vinolia soap was the exclusive soap provided for first-class passengers on the R.M.S. Titanic; named Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap. The advertisement of the time said that the soap “is perfect for sensitive skins and delicate complexions. Its rich, cleansing lather soothes and softens, and for regular Toiler use there is no soap more delightful.” It retailed for 35¢ a bar in 1912. You can still buy it today, but the formula has changed.

There was an advertising postcard popular at the time named ‘If I Must Be Washed, Wash Me With Vinolia Soap’ of 1910 which featured the same young boy as we see here realised in three-dimensional form. We cannot find another figure like this so we deem it rather scarce indeed. Now, much more of a rarity, models like these were more common in the late nineteenth and early to mid twentieth century, standing either in the window or out on the door, and used for dramatic advertising effect.

A very decorative table-top piece which we can date precisely and which would be of serious interest as a table-top decorators piece, those interested in advertising, Edwardiania or indeed RMS Titanic