Very Rare and Wonderful French Musical Automaton "Little Tich" by Roullet et Decamps

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30" (76 cm.) Standing upon a wooden platform as though waiting for the theatre curtain to rise,is a man with highly-characterized papier-mache face highlighted by a kindly smile,with oil-painted complexion featuring rosy make-up on nose,cheeks,ears and chin,brown glass eyes,articulated eyelids,closed mouth,sculpted details of forehead wrinkles,brown human hair wig,carton torso,hands posed to be able to hold his hat,over-sized feet with painted black shoes,and wearing a green woolen suit with purple lapels and red buttons,silk vest with double row of brass buttons,white shirt and silk tie. When wound,he seems to come to life from his standing pose,then alternately taps his very-oversized feet,first one,then the other,then blinks his eyes,bends far forward in an amazing feat of balance while simultaneously lifting his right arm and thus extending his hat to the audience. He,then,slowly raises himself while drawing his hat back to his body and,finally,stands,open-hatted,satisfied with his performance. Music plays throughout. Condition: generally excellent,music and mechanisms function well. Comments: Roullet & Decamps,circa 1910,inspired by the English stage performer,Henry Relph,billed as "Little Tich",and indeed,the face of this automaton aptly resembles photographs of Relph,as does the action; Relph's unique performance was based upon wearing shoes that were "half as long as he is tall". The "Little Tich" automaton was exhibited at the 1908 International Exhibition of which one juror,Serre Telmon,wrote "its elegance is equaled by its ingenuity...Little Tich accompanies his dancing,his gesture and his legendary poses with blinking of the eyes". Value Points: the well-preserved state of the automaton,along with its wonderful movements,are rivaled only by its rarity for few examples are known to exist.
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