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Watch this surprising video of an automaton play the dulcimer.
David Roentgen (1743–1807) took his royal patron by surprise when he delivered this beautiful automaton to King Louis XVI for his queen, Marie Antoinette, in 1784. The cabinetry for this piece is very much a neoclassical masterwork, and the mechanism behind it is truly extraordinary: the figure strikes the strings in perfect rhythm with two small metal hammers held in her hands, which move with great precision.
This object, from the Musée des arts et métiers de Paris, is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
See the full video: http://www.cerimes.fr/le-catalogue/la-joueuse-de-tympanon.html
Footage courtesy of CERIMES.
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Teapot with storks
Pair of seated figures with globes
Cup and saucer with butterflies
Jar with cover
Pharmacy jar with cover
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 201
The imitation of Japanese porcelain was a priority at Chantilly, where the prince de Condé established a porcelain factory in 1730. His collection of Asian ceramics may have served as direct models for pieces made at Chantilly. This jar copies a Japanese form. The painted scenes are derived from print by Jean-Antoine Fraisse (ca. 1680–1739), whose Book of Chinese Designs (1735) was a source of motifs for the factory’s painters.
Marking: Hunting horn (in red on base)
Mme. Helen Dupuy (until 1948; sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 2–3, 1948, no. 131; sold to Wilson)
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