Working Model


A coin operated electric ‘working model’ by Vincent Canova of Birmingham. Circa 1920. The exasperated Father is holding the baby whilst rocking another with his foot and waiting for a third crying infant to finish on the potty. Meanwhile the heaving chest of his recumbent wife deep in sleep makes one ask the question “Lads, is it worth it?”. This genre of coin slot automata were popular as ‘End of Pier’ amusements and featured well known subjects like the Haunted House, Drunkards Dream, English Execution etc by more common makers such as Dennison. Canova’s work is rare in comparison and this example is identified by comparison with the identical case of one featured in Heskeths book on Working Models. The sparse interior and surreal scale are all important signatures of work of this type and period. Materials and resources were scarce after the first world war and a ‘make do’ mentality prevailed in all areas of commerce. The artisan carpenter/mechanic composed his scenes as best he could but left us inadvertently with a definitive sparse style and a pennyworth of fun as his commentary bit home.

Price £3750