A rare Alfa Romeo sports car once owned by Mussolini's mistress will be amongst the highlights of a Paris auction next year.
Automata stars at Bonhams Dolls auction
A Turkish smoking automaton created by Leopold Lambert circa 1890 drinks coffee and smokes his shisha pipe, inhaling and exhaling smoke, while a separate musical box plays two airs. His head is papier-mache, his eyes are glass, his eyelids are kid leather and his beard is made of human hair. He is expected to fetch £4,000-£6,000.
Another Leopold Lambert automaton is an 1890 Tete Jumeau automaton who moves her head and arms to music, valued at £800-£1,200.
A rare black flautist automaton created by Gustav Vichy circa 1870 boasts a beautiful outfit of silk pantaloons and shirt with elaborately embroidered jacket. He raises his flute to his mouth, and moves his head and his fingers. He is valued at £5,000-£8,000.
A Renou automaton of a little girl with hair curling tongs, created in 1890, has a bisque Tete Jumeau head and silk dress. She holds a mirror and raises the tongs to her hair as if curling it. She may see £2,000-£3,000.
These are accompanied by two slightly stranger automata created circa 1990 at Sainte Croix, Switzerland.
The first depicts a mother sheep and naughty lamb in human clothing, the mother sheep spanking the naughty lamb over her knee as his legs kick, to the tune of ‘Vienna City of my Dreams’. It is valued at £800-£1,000.
The second is a robed barrister with the head of a beagle, who turns his head and opens and closes his jaw while waving a legal document as ‘The Blue Danube’ plays. He is expected to see £500-£700.
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