Musical automaton “A girl playing syrinx"

    Musical automaton “A girl playing syrinx"

    France, Paris

    сirca 1979

    Jean Roullet

    Wood, metal, fabric, glass; carving, painting, sewing, mechanical work

    Height 183 cm

    On the cylinder: “La Donna Immobile”,” Les Fauvelles”, “Soix de la Brise”, “Martha”


    Musical automata in the form of a dark-skinned girl, standing near high stump on round stand made of artificial marble with polished golden rims along the edges. The stand upper part is covered with dark green velvet. The girl has a papier-mâché head, puffy red lips, a half-open mouth with two rows of teeth, brown glass eyes with moving eyelids and eyelashes, dark curly hair. Wooden syrinx is in her hands, bare feet crossed. She is dressed in a scarlet silk blouse with bow and tie. Golden color braid is on the banded collar and cuffs, brocade skirt, vest with fringe, and trimmed with metal twisted thread, the belt with an ornament of metal twisted thread and glass beads. The movement with twelve cams and musical organ mechanism with pinned cylinder with four tunes, twelve wooden pipes, bellows and spring drive are fixed in the girls’ body. Winding handle and activating lever for turning the movement on / off are on the left lateral surface.

    When the movement is turned on, a melody sounds, the girl raises her hands with the syrinx to the mouth, her head turns from side to side, she bends over and her eyes blink. At the end of each of the four tunes from the opera Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi, written in 1850-1851 (La Donna Immobile, Les Fauvelles, Soix de la Brise and Martha), she pauses, looks up and around, and then tilts the head and continues to play.