Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roger Daltrey Auction features Automata, a "Who's Who" of Mechanical Figures!


Who knew?  A Rock and Role Legend, Roger Daltrey of  The Who, was an aficionado of automata.  He and his wife Heather collected seven unusual automata, and then decided to auction them with Lyon and Turnbull, September 28, 2016.  The Daltreys join several other celebrities and historical figures who have collected or admired  automata of all kinds, including Charles Lindbergh, former Vice President of Pan American Airlines, Samuel Pryor,  and Walt Disney. 


Androids are automatons that are made to resemble humans, but automata can be animals, like Vaucanson’s famous “digesting duck,” or robots.   60 Minutes recently featured a story on the future interaction of robots and automata with humans on Sunday, October 9, 2106.  The 2016 September Vogue published a story on a scientist who was conducing studies on whether robots could actually be programmed to feel human emotion.  Certainly the movie Hugo, and the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, promoted a renewed interest in mechanical figures and dolls, and my own scholarship has focused on them extensively.


By the same token, Antique Doll Collector Magazine frequently publishes stories on automata, and they grace the cover of our October 2016 issue.


Results of the Daltrey auction are printed on Lyon and Turnbull’s website.  The

Jean Phalibois automaton  'The Monkey Conjuror' sold for £8,125 , while Leopold Lambert’s(1854-1935) , Aubade a la Lune  sold for £13,750.   The site also contains a brief, interesting history of automatons and mechanical figures.

October 2016 Issue

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