Roullet & Decamps – Paris c.1880
Fur covered papiermache body with glass eyes. Powered by a strong brass and steel clockwork mechanism on a wooden base.
When operated the Tiger shakes his head from side to side and gradually sits back ready to suddenly pounce.
The Leaping Tiger is one of the most popular of Roullet & Decamps automaton animals, second only to the Rabbit in a Cabbage. The design for the Tiger was allegedly given to Gaston Decamps to draw up. Gaston always used life models when he could. The only Tiger in Paris at that time was a very old one residing in the zoo. It was so old it lay all day slumped at the front of his cage against the bars and would rarely move. So , the story goes, that Gaston had to guess the length of the tigers legs, a length which he underestimated! Nevertheless the automaton was a great success and continued in production for more than fifty years unchanged.
Operation of this is great fun if the audience does not know what to expect and is encouraged to look closely into the Tigers eyes.
Rare in this condition with intact tail and fur. This example also has a dramatic long ‘leap’ and is guaranteed for two years.
Length 19 inches, height 6 inches.