Loretta and I both have a well-documented (here, here, and here) weakness for automatons and other mechanical trinkets for the very wealthy in the 18thc. Automatons were often made as a collaboration between jewelers and watchmakers, and it's difficult to say whether this luxurious little beauty is a music-box masquerading as jewelry, or an ornament that makes music. Imagine a gentleman taking this from the deep pockets of his coat to entertain his friends, or a lady keeping it among the other amusements on her bedside table, ready to wind up and play for a special child.
Automated music-box, gold, Geneva, c1785. Victoria & Albert Museum.
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There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.