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Lot: 3. Scene Animee "Monkey Violinist with Singing Birds",Attributed to Bontems

26" (66 cm.) Seated in a wooden glen under the over-reaching branches of a tree and alongside a hillock which frames a clock,is a paper-mache monkey with painted features,hinged jaw,and wearing 18th century style silk and velvet costume. Tucked into the tree branches are feathered birds and a hummingbird in nest. A twisted glass waterfall is present. Movement and Music. The monkey turns his head and nods while opening and closing his upper and lower lips as if singing,while his right arm strums the violin. The birds turn side-to-side and flit among the branches while chirping. The waterfall pours forth. There are 11 animations and two tunes. Attributed Blaise Bontems,Paris,circa 1885,likely in collaboration with Phalibois. The monkey head and the cluster of six brass cams that control the bird movements are of Bontems style,along with the two bellows that provide the chirping bird sounds,Independently controlled is a pull-string wound,44-note musical movement by Mermod et Cie that bears the patent date of 1882. The clock,over-wound,has an 7-day movement and is also independent of the automaton movement. The rare scene animee is one of the rare examples of interaction among different automaton makers.

Realized Price: 8000


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    November 23, 2008 in Morristown, NJ




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