Very Rare French Musical Automaton "Country Girl at the Well" by Roullet et Decamps

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20" (51 cm.) Standing upon a wooden platform which is painted to appear as a moss-covered stone courtyard and well, with wooden well roof decorated with trailing vines, is a bisque head woman with brown glass paperweight eyes, closed mouth, blonde mohair wig, carton torso and legs, bisque forearms and hands. A chain pulley is suspended above the well and holds an old wooden bucket in which a frog is hiding. When wound, the lady lifts her arms alternately as though operating the pulley to bring up the bucket. Then, suddenly, just as the bucket reaches the top, a frog pops out. The lady drops the bucket (and the frog) quickly back into the well, then looks around, side-to-side as though she can't believe what happened, then pauses, and begins again. Meanwhile music plays. Condition: generally excellent, music and mechanism function well. Marks: Depose Tete Jumeau Bte SGDG 1 (head) (the attached key is Roullet & Decamps). Comments: Roullet et Decamps, the automata was illustrated in the original Roullet & Decamps catalog as Paysanne au Puits #329. Value Points: very rare model, of which few examples have ever been located, has wonderful synchronic movements providing an amusing Parisian view of a country scene. Ex-collection Paul Gendre of Paris.
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