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Early Théroude Monkey Cellist Automaton Playing "God Save the Queen"

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Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2345
Date / Time :
July 29, 2006 10:00AM


Early Théroude Monkey Cellist Automaton Playing "God Save the Queen", with papier-mâché head, yellow glass eyes, "powdered" wig in pigtail, and artciulated mouth, seated with guitar and bow in hand on burr-elm base with mitred corners, boxwood stringing, green paper-lined draw and amber glass pull and matching feet, the going-barrel movement driving split-comb musical movement activated when drawer is opened, playing "God Save the Queen" and causing the monkey to bow with two movements of the right arm, nod his head and chatter in time to the music, in the original olive-green satin tailcoat with lace cuffs, jabot, ivory satin waistcoat and matching breeches, wd. 8 x ht. 10 in.,(lid slightly bowed, upper lip and left hand restored), four movements, with maker's brass plaques on underside of drawer.

Note: The automaton is activated when the drawer is opened, but has a separate stop / start at the side for opening the drawer without setting off the music. Other elements of the construction suggesting that this monkey was a special commission include the cylinder movement, in which the central teeth have been eliminated from the comb in order to fit the gear wheel into a small space. (The same split-comb feature is recorded by Bailly in Théroude's Waltzing Couple automata, illustrated on p. 223 of Automata, The Golden Age.) This would certainly have been a special order from l'Épee, who supplied the movements, particularly given the choice of music, "God Save the Queen". Théroude's whimsical sense of humor must have been at play here because, on closer inspection, this monkey is not playing a cello, but bowing a guitar as though it were a cello. Maybe he intended a quiet joke about scale at the expense of his customer, that for this half-sized automaton monkey, a guitar would take on the proportions of a cello. See Lot 542 in this sale.
Estimate $2,000-3,000


God Save the Queen, Théroude Monkey Cellist , papier-mâché head , The Golden Age, Automaton, Cello, Jaquet-Droz automata