Musical automaton “Farmer and his pig”

    Musical automaton “Farmer and his pig”

    France, Paris

    Circa 1890

    Vichy, Gustave

    Wood, metal, leather, papier-mache, fabric; painting, wickerworks, mechanical works

    30 x 33 x 80 cm, 10 kg


    Automaton in the form of young peasant, who sits on the back of a wooden chair with a wicker seat of multi-colored straw and a sack with turnips tied to the right side. The peasant’s head and hands are from papier-mâché, ruddy face with brown glass eyes and moving eyelids, half-open mouth with movable lower lip, with green felt hat on his light hair. He is dressed in silk plaid shirt with orange bow and pearl buttons, motley vest with buttons, pink silk jacket and green striped velvet pants. He is wearing mustard-coloured woolen socks and brown leather shoes. He holds tramezzini with jam in his right hand and a piglet that is sitting on its knot bend with his left hand.

    The pig has blue glass eyes, half-open mouth with movable tongue, a napkin on the neck and a collar with frill and bow.

    Five-cam control mechanism and spring-driven musical movement, sound comb and pinned metal cylinder for two tunes are fitted in the chair right bottom part, together with winding key and activating lever.

    When the mechanisms are switched on, the melody sounds, the peasant moves the tramezzini to the pig and turns his head, blinks and moves his lips, as if trying to "persuade" the piglet to eat.

    The piglet sticks out his tongue and tries to lick the tramezzini. The peasant wants the pig to catch it; he shrugs his shoulders, turns his head, nods, knocks the chair seat with feet and again persuades the piglet to eat the tramezzini.