Origin: English
Period: Edwardian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-10
Height: 53”
Depth: 6” (at face)
Width (Shoulder to Shoulder): 14”

The turn of the century period male vent figure by Alfred LeMare, of particularly large proportions and in 100% original condition, with five operating mechanisms to animate the lips, mouth, and eyes, with defunct ear smoker/squirter, the head stick travelling to the bottom board of the body, in the original black formal suit with plum bow-tie, white buttoned shirt and black faux buttoned shoes, the head having short to medium length brown curled and felted hair, blushed cheeks and thick eyebrows, the eyes blue and the body constructed of a combination of paper maché, and wooden composition parts with the carved wooden hands painted in a light skin colour and the whole surviving from the zeniths of the nineteenth century.

In sound and stable overall original condition, there has been no bodged restoration or over-painting to the face and all five of the mechanisms are in working order aside from the water squirter to the ear which is detached. The costume for the dummy is tired and stained but all original, though has been moth eaten so there are holes as photographed. There are plaster repairs to the back of the head and some loss to the hair. The supporting board to the inner body is a later replacement. Overall he could do with some TLC but has not been meddled with much at all and as such remains pleasingly original.

Alfred LeMare began business in 1861 making property for theaters, but he later specialised in magic and ventriloquial goods at his shop in Manchester, England. He supplied figures for Fred Russell and Arthur Prince. In today's collector world of ventriloquist figures there are a few very rare figures and one is the Alfred LeMare. This builder worked in the 19th century and created his figures of both papier-mâché and wood.

The uncanny nature of ventriloquist’s dummies has enthralled and spooked people for decades, and they continue to feature in horror films to this day. The idea of the ghost in the inanimate object is not a new one, Freud has written at length on the subject in his discussions on the uncanny, and ghost stories have featured dolls and portraits coming to life for centuries.

A rare and particularly large figure by a mercurial maker and an early example which has barely been altered since its creation.