Serenade by Roullet & Decamps with Eight Movements

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Roullet et Decamps, Paris. Circa 1890. 16”l x 21”h. x 9”d. (42 x 55 x 23 cm). Eight movements. One or two tunes. A wooden platform is decorated to appear as a country setting, with painted and sculpted stones and grassy knolls, a gnarled tree with leaves and blossoms at the back, and a small house with architectural details of doors and window, trailing vine, steps, shingles, and turret top with decorative grill work at one end. There is a small fence and a doghouse. A bisque doll, costumed as a Spanish guitarist stands below the turret window, and a bisque-headed lady with bisque hands leans from the window. A dog is posed at the entrance of the doghouse. Movements: The man tilts forward and nods his head, then strums the guitar that he holds, the woman appears to open the door of the turret with her right hand, her body leans forward, and she blows three kisses to the man. Meanwhile the dog jumps in and out of his doghouse as though guarding his mistress, and his tongue moves in and out, too. Music plays throughout. Historical Notes: The automaton was featured in an early Roullet et Decamps catalog as #248, simply named Sérénade. The movements were precisely described in the catalog description. The automaton is notable for the number of different activities, and exceptional original decorations and condition. Architecturally designed automata are considered special rarities.
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