A MIXTURE OF MAGIC AND MECHANICS…To say that the ‘toy makers’ responsible for the complex mechanisms that drive an automaton are 'clever and inventive’ is an understatement. When Antoine Vichy formed his business ‘Vichy et Cie’ in 1862 his business description was a dry one…”manufacture and selling clockwork items, mechanical devices and mechanical toys”. Who would imagine that such simply stated terms would be describing the magically visual union of mechanics and imagination. In the hands of his son Gustave the output flourished. Much like Steiner, Gustave Vichy produced all his own mechanisms and their parts thereof made from the finest elements. And much like Jumeau, his own wife, a seamstress, created the clothing that adorned them. This was done in such a way that was breathtakingly stylish but also allowed for exceedingly graceful movements. It is this very combination of luxury and fluidity of motion which brings the Vichy mechanicals to the point of breath taking realism. To see a Vichy in motion is as if your eyes deceive you. Imagine then what a phenomenon it would have been to the eyes of 1870 Europe when there were still horse drawn carriages with wooden wheels bumping along the cobblestone streets of Paris. Aristocrats could only hope for a world as it was depicted in the world of automata.
A MIXTURE OF MAGIC, MUSIC AND FASHION…Speaking of aristocrats, who were the only ones to afford such parlor toys as these, this ‘Poupée En Promenade’ is the height of 1870’s French elegance. Thanks to a key wind mechanism housed in a tin casing with wheels hidden beneath her fashion gown she promenades in a circle. First she turns her head to the left, raises her Original Lorgnette and peers through it. Then, she lowers her Lorgnette and turns her head to the right wherein she briskly rotates her wrist thereby fanning her face with her Original Fan. The whole time she continues her circular promenade inspecting the imaginary guests which, in actuality, will be your other dolls. She does all this to a most delicate musical aire…that for a moment makes you think you are at the soiree yourself. Like most mechanicals 150 years old the movement is sporadic.
THE POUPÉE PAR EXCELLENCE…At just 21” including the French blue tin undercarriage,this 1875 Vichy Automaton is the next logical exploration of your interest in Fashions and Lady Dolls. She actually can do what you imagine Fashion Dolls pretend to do. Her bisque head is held high. It has Tri-Color Paperweight Eyes embedded amidst the purest of powder fine bisque. She has pierced ears with elegant pearl earrings and the most elaborate Mint Platinum Factory Wig in the original set and with original cork pate. Her 'gold and diamond’ necklace enhances her long neck with up tilted chin as it turns effortlessly from side to side in a gracious social manner.
Her Ensemble is a wonder! It appears to be almost All Original… and moreover near mint ! The original Aqua Watered Silk Taffeta Ballgown has beautiful shaping. It was made by Gustave Vichy’s wife, Marie Tereses Burger ,who created all the couture for the Vichy Automata. Seemingly afloat, it rests on stiffened muslin as she glides along as if on air. The train and trims are a bronzed metallic lace which dates from the era of the legendary designer Margaine Lacroix whose labeled gown can be seen elsewhere on our site. It is gathered in tiers with a matching edging at the hemline and sleeves. It is all in excellent condition which rarely can be said of Fashion Gowns! This remarkable creation carries not just the air of aristocratic perfection but also her first place UFDC Blue Ribbon of 28 years ago…which was probably her last public appearance before entering museum life !
To have her attend your soiree with all your own lovely Poupées and Bébés you must first E-MAIL US or CALL US at…212-787-7279…24 hours a day…7 days a week…so that we can help you CUSTOMIZE YOUR PERSONAL LAYWAY. Please inquire.!
CONDITON: Lovely satin bisque and Tri-color Paperweight Eyes and her Original Cork Pate and ornate Factory Wig. There is a very small irregular eye cut in the outside corner of one eye done in the making. This is not uncommon among fashion dolls. The metal fingers which grasp the Original Lorgnette and Fan had lost some paint over the years. It has been conservatively in-painted. One lens of her lorgnette is an antique celluloid replacement. There is slight bronzing on the bodice lapels. The movements as described above are hesitant. However the cycle of activity is complete and does function within limits. The head, arms and wheels all move freely. This is a splendid sign for anyone wishing to lubricate the gears as the blue tin casing can be easily opened to access the works by a professional. However, she does not need to move to enjoy her distinguished lineage and remarkable beauty.!
A Marvelous Blue Ribbon Winning Gustave Vichy FASHION AUTOMATON