A Very Rare c.1895 Cased Ventriloquist’s Dummy by Alfred LeMare

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Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth / Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890-1910
Torso Height: 21 inches
Leg Length: 28 inches (fully contracted)
Width (Shoulder to Shoulder): 12 inches
(all approximate)

The turn of the century period male vent figure of high build quality in 100% original condition, with five operating mechanisms to animate the lips, mouth, and eyes, the head stick travelling to the bottom board of the body with peg into which the pin fits giving the head a 360 degree rotation, in tweed suit with check bow-tie, ribbed socks and leather shoes, the head of short brown horse hair 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. The long and double hinged two part legs giving the figure yet more function with the handles well worn and positioned through the dummies base and out the other side for control, the whole presented in an early 20thC canvas trunk.

In good overall original condition, there has been a little over-painting to the face but the whole is in fine fettle considering its advanced years. All five of the mechanisms are in working order. The costume for the dummy is good quality and all original. The trunk is probably twenty years younger than the figure but is a decent quality canvas and leather case.

Alfred LeMare began business in 1861 making property for theaters, but he later specialized 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 paper mache 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.

One of the rarest ventriloquist figures one could hope to find and as such is the true connoisseurs choice.

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