A Fernand Martin (France) clockwork automaton, "Le Pochard" (the drunkard) from 1899.
Martin toys are incredibly accurate at portraying French life in the 19th century. They are crude in one way and sophisticated in another. Martin's genius was to observe everyday people and transform them into toys. Many times toys are made for children but with adults in mind. The subtleties would be lost on a child.
This is a scarce early toy figure of a drunkard, with painted face, grey top
hat, still with original bottle marked "Article Francais" and cup, with permanent key, black metal feet, check trousers and plain tunic (some wear and tear). Made to walk with a stagger and
periodically take a drink, has survived remarkable well. The mechanism may have been overwound as it is not currently functioning.
Height: 21 cm
Art of the Tin Toy, David Pressland