The Kittens Dance Lesson
Musical Picture Frame Diorama with Automaton Scene.
The scene is of a Dancing Master Cat playing the violin with a group of three kittens dancing to the music. The Kittens bounce up and down kicking out their legs, while the dancing master beats time with his foot. This type of ‘picture frame’ automaton is designed to sit on a shelf alone or amongst a run of books.
Probably made by Schoenhut, Austria, circa 1895. The Cats in the distinctive anthropomorphic style of Louis Wain (1860 – 1939) who work was very popular at the time this automaton was made.
Wood with coloured card figures. Clockwork musical mechanism with cord and brass wire linkages to animate the figures. Original key.
The diorama is in unusually good original condition without fading, curling or signs of repair, as if it has remained in its box for most of its life. One small crack across extreme corner of the original glass.
Contained within a thin card box (restorations to edges) of the correct type and age for the automaton but probably not the original.
Size: 14x11x4 inches.