Musical automaton “Girl gymnast-on-ladder”

    Musical automaton “Girl gymnast-on-ladder”


    circa 1890

    Lambert, Léopold

    Fabric (velvet), metal, glaze, glass


    When wound and the start/stop rod actuated, the amazing performance begins with the girl perched upon the fourth rung of the ladder, grasping the top with both hands and swinging both legs off the ladder backwards once, then returning, twice, then returning, then on the third time bringing both legs out to the horizontal and continuing upwards until the whole torso and legs are at a steep 65-degrees in tilt and holding the stance. Then, as the pure magic becomes clear, her left hand raises from the top of the ladder completely with the body weight on just one hand whilst twisting her body up and down twice, before returning her raised hand back to the ladder and swinging her legs slowly down again onto the fourth rung of the ladder, all accompanied by the music from the cylinder movement. On the raise of the single hand, the other hand does not make contact with the ladder top.

    The girl with a fine bisque head bears the French stamp to the back, soft light brown hair cap styled to curled bun, blue glass eyes with very fine lip and eyebrow painted detail, carved and painted wooden hands. Dressed in the original and fabulously cut pleated and waved silk outfit comprising dark green velvet choker, layered peach and cream top with matching loose swag breaches, pale red stockings and pink ballet shoes, accessorized by patterned banding and lace detail.

    The ladder of traditional green painted metal and the base containing the movement of stained pine, covered with the original green velvet rug covering with threaded hem.

    Lambert screw key and start/stop to rear. Original retailer's paper label in blue and white.