Musical automaton "Juggling polar bear"

    Musical automaton "Juggling polar bear"

    France, Paris

    Circa 1900

    Roullet & Decamps

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

    Height 60 cm


    Polar bear, standing upright, completely finished in white fur, glass eyes, painted and carefully moulded part composition and papier-mache hands and feet, wearing leather collar with chain mount swaging down towards hook to base, white and patterned red stripe ball rotating on the naturalistically textured black leather nose, all mounted to the purple and green velvet covered base of canted-corner profile, key hole and start/stop rod are on the rear side, plain finished underside.
    When wound and the start/stop actuation rod pulled out, the movement immediately springs into action with the standing polar bear's hips swaying around in a loop whilst the upper body also moves in a smaller circular motion, simultaneously the balancing ball precariously positioned on the tip of his nose rotates round and round, arms quake up and down randomly as the pure brilliance of performing balance is displayed, all accompanied by a single musical tune from the cylinder movement directly driven by the single-spring, four-pillar motor.