A superb antique Cat-in-Milk Churn musical automaton, by Roullet & Decamps,
At last, the cat has got the cream...
When the milk churn lid is removed, the movement wound and the start/stop rod actuated, the music starts and the magic begins, with the just-in-view white cat's head rising up, turning slightly as its tongue laps at the side of the churn continuously, pausing briefly at the top of the rim, before continuing upwards above the churn summit, still lapping the milk with tongue, holding the stance for a few seconds, then suddenly dropping down back into the darkness of the milk churn, music accompanying all the while.
The cat's head of papier-mâché, wonderfully naturalistically covered in white rabbits fur, with glass eyes and shaped painted metal tongue, driven by the hidden movement below with direct drive to the Baker-Troll single-section comb cylinder movement playing one air, mounted within the real 1.1/2-litre thick polished aluminium milk churn canister with churn maker's stamp to underside, swing handle and near-tight fitting lid with turned knob, start/stop and winding spindle to rear.
size - 9.1/4in. high, max width 5in. - (23.5 x 12.5cm)
Point of Interest -
One of the most sought-after petit musical automatons made by Roullet & Decamps, Douglas-Fisher present here a superb example in full operational and original condition. This amazing survivor displays the three main attributes which continue to place antique automata in the spotlight - suspense, amusement and surprise.
The firm who made the milk churn also made all sorts of container and cookware and this milk churn is the real thing. By using a day-to-day object as the foundation of this piece, Roullet & Decamps projected not just developed surprise, but real surprise. Much like placing a piece of wax fruit amongst real fruit in a bowl, this piece was intended to blend in. How very imaginative.