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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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Vase with cover
Vase (one of a pair)
Toilet jar with cover
Bottle cooler (Seaux à demi-bouteille) (one of a pair)
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 551
This small globular vase is the surviving bottom half of what was known as a double gourd vase. It dates from the earliest years of the Saint-Cloud manufactory, the first in France to produce artificial or soft-paste porcelain commercially. The decoration in cobalt blue reflects the influence of imported Chinese porcelains, but the designs of arabesques and fantastic creatures is French in origin.
Marking: pseudo-Chinese calligraphy
Karrick Riggs (until 1947; Pauline Riggs Noyes sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, February 7, 1947, no. 69; sold to Bensimon); [ Gaston Bensimon , New York, before 1950; sold to Wilson ]
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