Musical automaton “The girl with a powder box and a puff”

    Musical automaton “The girl with a powder box and a puff”

    Switzerland, Geneva


    Michele Burnet Cichon

    Wood, metal, steel, brass, biscuit, feathers; carpentry and mechanical work, sewing, painting

    Height 104 cm

    On oval plate: “BELLE EPOQUE”, on rectangular plate: : “AUTOMATE des CIBURS”, “fabrication SUISSE GENEVE (1994) de Mme Michele BURNET CICHON pour SCHUHKNECHT'S Musikwissenschaftliches Museum / HANNOVER DEUTSCHLAND”. On the figure nape: “MCB be CH 1994”


    Automaton in the form of a girl figure is mounted on rectangular wooden stand with golden trimming, with two carrying hands, with the top panel covered with black velvet. Oval plate with the inscription “BELLE EPOQUE” is on the golden color front panel. The plate with the automaton name, the author name, manufacturing date and other information is on the rear panel. The girl’s head, chest and hands are made of biscuit porcelain; she has blue glass eyes with moving eyelids, long earrings in her ears, wavy blond hair on her head, set in pouffe hairstyle.

    She is dressed in party frock from black mesh lace, embroidered with beads, with two black underskirts. One of them is transparent, and the other one is of thick fabric. Feather boa is on her shoulders, lace ruffles are on the décolletage and sleeves, her right shoulder is decorated with the branch of pink roses with lilac flowers and green leaves. Black velvet necklace with two rows of transparent faceted stones and red stone pendant is on her neck, a bracelet is on the right hand. The girl underwear is trimmed with embroidering along the bottom edge; black shoes are painted on her feet. The girl holds a powder box with golden lateral side surface and the image of a rose on the lid in her left hand, a puff is her right hand. Musical movement with sound comb, pinned cylinder and spring drive and motor, controlling the girl’s movements is mounted in the stand with winding key on the left side. When the movement is winded, the music sounds, the girl moves her left hand with the powder box, the lid with mirror opens. The girl holds the puff in her right hand, lifts it to her face, looks in the mirror and, as if puffing her nose. At the same time, the girl head descends and raises, smoothly turns right and left, the eyelids rise and descend. The key is in the set.

    The author of the automaton Madame Michele Burnet Cichon (born in 1948), a chemist by education, became an artisan since 1971, and since 1971 she was elected the president of the Geneva Association of Craftsmanship. Madame Michele Burnet Cichon undertook vast chemical research with the aim of finding a porcelain formula that perfectly matched natural skin tone. She mastered manufacturing automata and made them look distinctively. She was textile to equip her graceful automata perfectly, so that their clothes looked as authentic as possible. Musical automaton “The girl with a powder box and a puff” was manufactured for the museum of musical automata in Hanover, Germany (SCHUHKNECHT Musikwissenschaftliches Museum), founded by Peter G. Schuhknecht in1975.