This month was the club’s annual fundraiser. The program was all about dollhouses and the special presenter was Marion Maus-Greer, Past President of the National Antique Doll Dealers Association. The program was presented in two parts: the history of dollhouses and collector’s dollhouses. The centerpieces for the tables were small dollhouses with paper furniture made from dollhouse kits by the club members. Favors for attendees included dollhouse furniture donated by club member Ruth Kajunski and paper dolls of an 1890’s dollhouse family designed by paper doll artist Diana Vining. The other activities includes a raffle, a silent auction, and a drawing for the dollhouse centerpieces. All items were sold!
Our speaker shared a comprehensive program on the history of automatons - mechanical dolls, animals, and objects that move via complex internal wind up mechanisms.
“The Automaton, neither purely a toy nor object d’art but partaking of the qualities of both, embodies in a wonderfully immediate fashion, the artistic and cultural atmosphere of the time” Christian Bailly, author of Automata the Golden Age 1848 – 1914.
Automata began to appear in Europe in the 14th century in monumental cathedral clocks. Very few remain but some still can be seen at San Marco’s in Venice and in the astronomical clock in Strasbourg. In the 18th century, a new type of automation began, the android. The makers of these androids included Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaquet-Droz and Maillaedet: they produced very few in their lifetime and the few that exist today are in museums. The principal makers of Automata from the golden age were Théroude, Bontems, Vichy, Roullet & Decamps, Phalibois, Lambert, Renou And Zinner and Söhn, plus the Autoperipatetikos. The speaker shared numerous examples of these automatons via photographs, videos, and examples from his own collection.