Tiffany "Flower Girl" Musical Automaton Is Fake
by Christian Greinacher (040419 MMDigest)


flower2811a.jpg (19 kb)
Fig.1.  [high resolution image (540 kb)]
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Fig. 2.  [high resolution image (344 kb)]

In MMD 031125 I asked some questions concerning an unknown music automaton under the subject 'Tiffany "Flower Girl" Musical Automaton' (Fig.1), labeled on its back as shown in Fig. 2.

Shortly after that posting was published I got some replies; the most interesting of them came from Jere Ryder and Nick Hawkins.  Both explained that this Flower Girl, signed as Nr. 5, seems to be "another of the 'faked' automatons that have been popping up all over the world."

Because I am not the owner of this Flower Girl Nr. 5 (a friend of mine who lives some hundred kilometers from me owns it), I had to wait until now before I could continue to investigate this automaton.  Now I can inform you about the outcome of my recent investigations.

After I had removed the plush covering from the back side of the glass-fronted picture box, there came out a box of pine wood, primitively nailed together, and an 8 mm back side of chip-board nailed to the pine wood sides (Fig. 3).

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Fig. 3.  [high resolution image (259 kb)]

In order to investigate the movement I removed the framed glass front.  The decoration around the flower girl is mostly from natural materials as dried leaves, flowers, blossoms, branches and grasses.  The head of the doll seems to be from papier-mâché.  The mouth, eyes and eyebrows are painted with water-color (Fig. 4).  Fabrics for the dolls robe and for decoration seem to be old but are aged in addition.
 
 

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Fig. 4.  [high resolution image (507 kb)]
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Fig. 5.  [high resolution image (518 kb)]

Without any problem I could loosen the robe which was fixed to the background with some glue.  The legs and feet are connected primitively on wires (Fig. 5).  On the left leg wire is soldered a branching-off wire which holds at its far end one of two butterflies.

The movement itself is covered by a thin pasteboard in order to avoid that the dolls robe is pulled into the movement. On this pasteboard is printed "Brooke Bond PG Tip" (Fig. 6). If anybody could identify by this label a product or the country where this product was produced, please let us know it.  Might be it could give some trace to where that fake was made.

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Fig. 6.  [high resolution image (443 kb)]

Behind this pasteboard there is the movement: a small 18-note Sankyo musical movement (Fig. 7).  Fixed to the arbor of the barrel of this movement is the simple mechanism which animates head, arms and legs of the doll.  The movement is fixed with modern screws to a wooden block glued on the back of the box.

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Fig. 7.  [high resolution image (267 kb)]

After I had made a long-shaft winding key and fit it to the winding arbor of the movement, the doll was animated and the Sankyo movement played the well-known melody, "All children of the world".

My investigation proved what Jere Ryder and Nick Hawkins had found just from looking at the pictures which I published with my MMD posting from November 2003: Flower Girl Nr. 5 is a fake!  In comparing it with Jere Ryder's posting in 020327 MMDigest, entitled "Fake Monkey Automatons", it seems to be pretty certain that all these fakes come from the same workshop.

At the beginning of April, 2004, I got an email from the owner of "Flower Girl Nr. 3."  Now I am waiting for some more information, but most probably this is another fake from the same workshop.  When I get more information I will post it again.

Christian Greinacher
Germany
19 Apr 2004 18:20:43 +0200

PG Tip is a brand of tea sold world-wide by Brooke Bond, with picture 'trading cards' enclosed.


19 April 2004