Mechanical Compositions

Musical automaton with clock "Instrumental troupe"

    Musical automaton with clock "Instrumental troupe"


    Сirca 1880

    Jean-Marie Phalibois

    Wood, papier-mâché, silk, leather, feathers, wire, plexiglass, sequins, beads, glass; gilding, wood carving, sewing, mechanical work

    90 х 45 х 88 cm, 15 kg


    Automaton is multifigured composition, mounted on gilded wooden socle and covered with glass hood with thin metal skeleton and saddle roof. The socle is decorated with volumetric rocailles shaped carving, branches with flowers and curls. Three round and one rectangular apertures are in the socle rear side. Clock with white enamel dial closed with faceted glass door is mounted on the front side center. The scale with minutes’ graduations, Roman numerals for hours’ designation, two black spear-shaped hands and two key holes is on the dial encircled with cast embossed bezel.

    A troupe of vagarious artists performs on the grass-plat in front of the trees. The tightrope is stretched between the racks is the composition centre, the actress’s figure in lace dress with balance beam in her hands is dancing. The musicians figures are below, four both sides. The musicians are dressed in multi-coloured leather short pants and short jackets, turbans or round red pig-tailed hats are on their heads. They are holding musical instruments in their hands: reedpipes, folk string instrument, triangle, tambourine, cymbals and Pandean pipe. Two male figures are among the trees greenery. White, blue, green and red colors banners are outstretched between the trees in the background. A small-size British banner is attached to one of the large ones. The site is surrounded with low fence of thin rods from three sides.

    When the mechanism is activated music begins to sound, the figures come into motion: musicians play their instruments, the girl dances on a tightrope. The musical movement and automaton cam control gear are driven by two spring motors, which are activated by a button on the socle right lateral side simultaneously. Two keyholes near the button. In musical movement Sound comb, three bells, small drum and pinned cylinder for six tunes comprise the musical movement. Two winding keys are in the set.