Auctioneers and Appraisers

Rare Automaton of a Puppeteer with Theatre

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Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2314
Date / Time :
November 03, 2005 10:00AM


Rare Automaton of a Puppeteer with Theatre, probably by Gustave Vichy, with early Tete Jumeau bisque head stamped in red Depose Tete Jumeau, Bte. S.G.D.G. 9 and painter's mark H9, large paperweight eyes, feathered brows, closed mouth with outline, pierced ears (small chips), straight neck, cork pate and long brown hair wig falling in ringlets, holding the strings to a toy theatre in one papier-mache hand, the other articulated at shoulder and elbow, the theatre's proscenium with ivory satin and metal-thread curtains enclosing two marionettes with parian heads and original French regional costumes, a third in Venetian costume reclining on the roof, the figure's body containing single-air going-barrel movement, in drop-waisted burgundy satin costume with ruched front, pleated skirt, ribbons and lace epaulets at the shoulders, ht. 26 in. , (old chip and hairline at back of head)

Provenance: The collection of Alain Renard, Paris, 1983. The automaton in this lot is illustrated in the Japanese reference book by Goto Keiichiro, (1982), Les Poupees de Paris, p. 179.
Note: A similar automaton was offered in the 1884 catalogue of the Parisian department store Au Louvre. With the addition of a Bebe Triste head, an acrobat (instead of marionettes) and an animated dog in her basket, the figure cost 290 francs and was clearly a deluxe model. Only three examples of this other piece are known (two in museums, one in a private collection), while the lot offered here is believed to be the only example to include puppets. The figure turns and nods her head, raises her right hand, throws four kisses, and twists the strings in her left hand to make the puppets dance.
Estimate $12,000-18,000


Alain Renard, Gustave Vichy, bisque head , metal-thread curtains, Paris, Au Louvre, Parisian department store, Bebe Triste head , an acrobat, acrobat, Automaton, Marionette, Puppet, Puppetry