Musical automaton "Performing monkeys: conjuror and two musicians"

    Musical automaton "Performing monkeys: conjuror and two musicians"

    France, Paris

    Circa 1895

    Henry Phalibois

    Papier-mache, wood, metal, fabric, lace; sewing, mechanical works, painting, carpentry

    79 х 61 х 45 cm, 18 kg


    Automaton in the form of three figures of monkeys - magician and musicians - a violin player and a harpist sitting on the stools that are covered with beige velvet and decorated with braid. The automaton is mounted on wooden profiled stand, painted with black piano lacquer, on four chiseled supports. The top panel is covered with colored paper with twisted bordeaux cord. A table with curved feet covered with colored paper and draped with pink satin with ornament and fringe is between the musicians. Carved wooden attributes and playing cards are on the table. A magician in black oriental dressing gown with red lapels, with hem inserts and trimmed with golden raymet, sits at the table. He is dressed in yellow satin shirt with puff sleeves and lace cuffs, with band-collar, black satin waistcoat with white patch in the form of a lozenge. Blue bows are on the shoulders, pink ones are on the cuffs. Monkeys have papier-mache heads with light fur, brown glass eyes. Their hats are decorated with golden braid and ribbons. The musicians are wearing bright silk Spanish style costumes with ornamentation and lace trim, white stockings and black shoes with golden buckles are on their feet. The magician holds glasses in his hands.
    Control mechanism with wooden cylinder, five levers and spring drive is fitted in the stand. Winding key and start / stop button are on the lateral side. When the movement is activated, the magician's hands with glasses alternately rise and fall, revealing various combinations of objects. At the same time, the magician's head tilts and rises, gently turns to the right and left, the magician's eyelids go down and rise, all monkeys move their eyes. The violinist’s right hand with fiddlestick moves, the harpist’s both hands sort of pluck.