11-03-2005 11-03-2005
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Bolton MA
November 3, 2005 10:00 AMCalender

Roullet et Decamps Automaton of a Clown Equilibriste

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


Roullet et Decamps Automaton of a Clown Equilibriste, with Jumeau bisque head impressed 4, open mouth with upper teeth, fixed blue paperweight eyes, heavy brows, pierced ears and gray pompadour lambswool wig trimmed with red pom-poms, standing with feet resting on the seat of a red and white painted chair, his papier-mache hands resting on the top rail and the two-air going-barrel movement in the base, in period red and yellow figured silk costume edged in black velvet, satin slippers and beaded lace ruff, on velvet carpet, ht. extended 25 in., with Decamps stop/start, (fine hairline from ear to temple, repair at back of head).

Note: Unusually for an acrobat automaton, the movement is contained in the chair seat rather than a swaying ladder. Roullet et Decamps made several versions of this smaller acrobat, balancing on the back of a ladder, a chair and between two parallel bars. The going-barrel movement causes the clown to raise his body into a hand-stand position of increasing height with each attempt, until his body is vertical and his feet rise above his head. He looks from side to side as though waiting for applause and then raises his right arm into the air, his back appears to arch as he lifts away from the chair and his legs bend at the knee to increase the effect. He performs the trick three times, and then lowers his body back to a standing position, and the sequence begins again.

Literature: Christian Bailly, (1987), Automata, The Golden Age, p. 354.
Estimate $6,000-8,000


chair , acrobat , bisque head , red and white painted chair , Christian Bailly