Henry Phalibois Automaton of an Advocate
- Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2314
- Date / Time :
- November 03, 2005 10:00AM
Henry Phalibois Automaton of an Advocate, circa 1895, with papier-mache head, brown glass eyes with articulated lids, hinged jaw with inset teeth and tongue, white mohair wig, whiskers and beard, standing behind a wood lectern, with three-air cylinder movement and seven-cam going-barrel automaton movement causing the figure to turn his head, blink and move his mouth as though speaking, his right hand raising a document which he inclines his head to read, his left moving in circles, alternately up-and-down and from side-to-side beating the document and berating his audience, in black satin ermine-trimmed robes, ht. 29 in.
Note: When Jean Phalibois retired in 1893, his son Edouard Henry inherited one of the oldest and most prestigious automata firms in Paris. However, he quickly realized that he would need to modernize the business, if it was to ride the wave of the new century. Since the 1860s, Phalibois had been known for his tableaux, singing birds and intimate scenes under glass domes. Now, thirty years later, Henry developed an entirely new type of automaton: larger, character-driven and often electric, these pieces were instantly eye-catching and also suitable for advertising purposes. The Advocate is a good example of a transitional piece, with the large size and confident modeling characteristic of Henry's work, yet still driven by wooden cams and the separate cylinder and automaton movements that his father used.
Literature: Chapuis & Droz, (1958), Automata, A Historical and Technical Study, p. 337.