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The Magic of Cabaret Day 40

December 21, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 40As we come to the last evening of the Magic of Cabaret, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We hope you have enjoyed the evenings and we look forward to catching up with you in 2010. We have new exhibitions opening in Woodstock – Oxfordshire, Miami – Florida, and Tel Aviv.

Click here to look back over the last 39 days.

Day 39 – Deck the halls with Automata!

December 20, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 39As you make the final touches to your decorations, why not think about creating some that move.

Dr. Stephen Guy has been busy this year with several collaborative automata projects, which may inspire you to get creative with your friends.

Last month Stephen inspired prospective theatre design students with this wonderful idea for a workshop. Students all made their own pieces, and then by clever mechanical connections, all the automata were joined together and one turn of the handle set them all in motion.

Stephen’s mechanical theatre performance of The London Jungle Book, featuring Indian Gond Art by Bhaju Shyam, was so popular at our exhibition in Granada that they have been invited back to do a closing performance in January.

Following on from this work, Stephen also inspired another Gond artist to make his first piece of automata.

Day 38 – Circus Maximus – The Flea Circus

December 19, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 38This Saturday we have some more entertainment from Michael and Maria Start.
A completely traditional flea circus called ‘Circus Maximus’ featuring acts of skill and daring performed by trained Fleas. Beginning with Hestor Walenda in a nerve racking high wire and trapeze act and featuring Ignatius P. the Fire eating flea. Dr. Flea and his glamorous assistant MammaMia encourage and introduce the highly trained troupe through 10 classic circus acts, the Grand Finale being when Taki Fontana is shot from a Cannon.

Rest assured, no fleas are harmed during the performance, they actually enjoy the discipline of performing.

To end this evening we have The Magic Book Part 2 from Michael and Maria.

Day 37 – The Corkscrew by Rob Higgs

December 18, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 37Now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to open your wine and nuts over the festive season. Look no further! We have two ingenious devices to show you from artist and automata maker Rob Higgs.

We know that these two are a bit on the large size but enjoy watching them anyway!

Day 36 – Miniature Magic Automata

December 17, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 36We have two very tiny magic automata which make great last minute gifts.

The Sawing a Lady in half is a classic trick, the lady gets sawn in half before your very eyes (strong glasses may be required in some cases) or The Conjurer will pull a rabbit out of a hat. Operated by tiny wire handles, these are real conversation pieces.

These wonderful pieces are made by Angela and Laurence St Leger and we have been selling their work for over 20 years. The St Leger’s started off making miniatures for dolls houses, and the experimented with moving toy miniatures – their first design was Samson The Strong Man. They now have over 150 in their repertoire and rumour has it that astronaut and automata collector Richard Garriott took one into space with him.

Sawing a Lady in Half - Miniature AutomataSawing a Lady in Half – £59.50 (excl. VAT)

Height 26mm

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The Conjurer - Miniature AutomataConjurer – £39.50 (excl. VAT)

Height – 30mm

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Day 35 – The Temptation of St Anthony (after Salvador Dali)

December 16, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 35This evening we bring you another magnificent large automaton. Tonight’s is from Keith Newstead, who has just finished this version of the Temptation of Saint Anthony, and was inspired by Dali’s painting of the supernatural scene, (below).

In Keith’s new version, Saint Anthony is found in a modern day desert setting, complete with crumbling devilish graffiti. His temptation comes in the form of a dancing girl, carried on the back of the wonderful spider-legged elephant.

The Temptation of St Anthony (after Salvador Dali)The Temptation of St Anthony (after Salvador Dali)

The Temptation of St Anthony (after Salvador Dali)The Temptation of St Anthony (after Salvador Dali) by Ketih Newstead – £7950 (excl.VAT)

75cm high
23 cm deep
35 cm wide


Dali's Temptation of St. Anthony

Day 34 – Tipu’s Tiger

December 15, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 34Tonight we bring you a really magnificent new piece from Carlos Zapata, inspired by the well known 18th century automaton at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (see below)

An unfortunate employee of the British East India Company is being savaged by a vicious tiger. Above him his fellow soldiers are on a campaign of war against the Indian Kingdom of Mysore, and further up we see the Sultan of Tipu, who was very fond of tigers, turning the handle of his own Tiger automaton.

tigerTipu’s Tiger by Carlos Zapata – £8950 (excl. VAT)

Height 1.3 metres



Day 33 – The Search

December 14, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 33Paul Spooner has stayed up late again… and made four of these intriguing pieces. Unusually the mechanism is not viewable, so guesswork is required.

Action. On turning the handle, the snorkeller undertakes an urgent and thorough search into all four corners of his patch of sea.

Caption on label “A lone snorkeller quarters a turquoise sea. The tropical hardwoods used in this piece have been responsibly harvested from antique furniture”.

The Search by Paul SpoonerThe Search by Paul Spooner – £195 (excl. VAT)

80mm wide
60mm deep
95mm high
Only 4 available.


Day 32 – The Wiggling Figure

December 13, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 32We have one only of these beautiful pieces – the perfect last minute gift, (maybe for yourself!)

This androgynous piece was originally a one-off by Paul Spooner which graced the entrance of the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in Covent Garden, splendid in it’s glass dome. The movement is derived from the rotating pelvis, (which is where all the best movements start,) and the face of the figure is reminiscent of the emcee of the Kit Kat Club in the film ‘Cabaret’ – so as they say.. ‘Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome, in Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret!

Wiggling FigureThe piece was re-created by the 14 Ball Toy Co in the 1990′s as an unlimited but inevitably small edition.

21cm high,
7cm wide.

One only,

£350 (excl. VAT)


Day 31 – The Magic Book – Part 1

December 12, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Magic of Cabaret Day 31Here’s some entertainment for Saturday night.

Michael and Maria Start of Automatomania (pictured with lifesize automaton Nancy) have produced this playful introduction to antique Magic Automata especially for us.


The Satyr Head of MysteryMichael and Maria are also working on a wonderful magic trick called the ‘Satyr Head of Mystery’

This is the prototype of a classic apparatus from the age of Robert Houdin. The finished head will awaken and perform powered by a precision clockwork motor (not by Maria!).
Made of strong papier mache, gessoed and painted with leather eyelids and fine glass eyes in the tradition of the Parisian automata makers.
Designed to produce one or two items from the mouth and top of the head. The final issue is due to awaken in the Spring of 2010, expressions of interest are invited.

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