A very scarce antique rabbit-in-cauliflower musical automaton, by Roullet & Decamps
The 'surprise' model with deluxe movement,
Eat your greens...
When wound by the original and very rare large sized R & D key and the start/stop pull actuated, the musical air begins to play, then after a pause of almost five seconds, the top of the cauliflower heart opens up to reveal a small white rabbit. He rises, turns to point both ears upwards, then quivers slightly from side-to-side, continuing to rise and faces the viewer. The piece of cauliflower leaf in his mouth is eaten and the piece in between his front claws is held, before he suddenly drops back inside the hollowed vegetable and the lid closes down as the music comes to a finish. Continuing again and again in start, or stopping on-cue by pushing stop rod back in position.
The rabbit is fully dressed in white rabbit fur, hazel glass eyes with suspended black pupils, carved and painted claws. The cauliflower of papier-mâché body with layered and naturalistically modelled leaves with patterned hues of off-yellow and white, on green stained turned circular base.
The start/stop and key spindle to right-hand side.
size - 7in. high, base diameter 5in. - (18 x 12.5cm)
Point of Interest -
Perhaps the best known 'surprise' model from the range produced by Roullet & Decamps is the Rabbit in Cabbage, which has a similar action to this piece, but differing in action order due to the less sophisticated movement used for the cabbage.
This cauliflower automaton uses the far more desirable deluxe movement with multi-cam program, also used for a few of the other deluxe 'surprise' models.
These include the Hare in Log (cat. no. 204) and the Girl in Basket Garden (cat. no. 205). Of the more generic movements within the more complex casements, R & D listed Girl in Cabbage, Cat in Milk Churn, Girl in Urn and Clown in Pie.
The Cauliflower is a rarity, as they have made sure the real surprise lies in what the viewer is used to seeing in similar models, whilst the movements do much more - such as the little quiver before the continuation of the rabbit rise and the munching on the leaf.
It's all in the detail when Golden Age automata is concerned - detail which we display here for your pleasure.