Musical automaton "Musician playing banjo"

    Musical automaton "Musician playing banjo"

    France, Paris

    Circa 1890

    Vichy, Gustave

    Papier-mache, wood, metal, fabric; sewing, mechanical work, painting

    Height 79 cm


    Automaton in the form of a black-skinned musician that is playing banjo. The musician stands leaning on the back of a chair and cross-legged. He is wearing long, spacious overcoat with long buff sleeves, wide lapels and short band collar. The costume is made of dense fabric with large patterns, on scarlet lining. Lapels and sleeves are trimmed with braided ribbon with metal thread. White satin shirt with band collar and pleated cuffs on four dark buttons. He is wearing short pantaloons, black knitted stockings, and pink satin shoes with black pom-poms. Long colored lace with tassels is on his neck. High black felt hat with brim is on his head. His head and hands are made of papier-mâché and are painted dark brown. Black curly wig made of natural hair, brown glass eyes with mobile upper eyelids. White dragonfly is on his forehead. The musician is holding a five-string banjo in his hands. The control mechanism and musical movement are located in the closed casing between the chair legs. The aperture for the crank and a start-stop button are on the casing left side.

    When the movement is activated, the right hand moves along the strings, the head turns from side to side, bends, the eyelids descend and rise, the mouth opens and closes, the shoulders rise and fall. The actions are accompanied by sounds of the musical movement with sound comb and cylinder.