7 . Automaton
32" (80 cm.) An elegant lady with oil-painted papier-mache features,brown glass eyes with movable eyelids,closed mouth with hint of teeth and smile,long flowing brunette human hair,carton torso with lady shape,articulated wrists,long slender legs posed to balance on one while the other is stepped back and balanced on tiptoe,wearing a superb sienna crepe de chine gown with metallic lace and trim,and with jewelry hiding the wrist articulation,and painted sandals,is standing upon a beautifully-crafted circular rosewood and velvet base with carpeted floor below the harp. When wound,she gracefully turns her head side-to-side,blinking her eyelids and periodically gazing upward at her audience,and then down to watch her hands glide across the harp strings in a realistic plucking motion; in addition,her wrists move independently of her arms,and her breastplate moves up and down as though breathing. Condition: generally excellent,mechanism and music function well. Comments: Vichy,Paris,circa 1895,their luxury deposed model #486,which appeared in their catalog as "Merveilleuse Jouant de la Cythare". Value Points: extremely rare and prestige automaton with a stunning detail of quality production ranging from the cabinetry of the base,to the superb arch-shaped diatonic harp known as a "cythare" with elaborately carved figurehead of Bacchus to the elegant costuming designed to enhance the gliding movement of the harpist. Ex-Merrick Collection,this piece was demonstrated at the founding meeting of Musical Box Society. Few examples are known to exist.