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The Collectible Miniature Automata of Laurence and Angela St.Leger


A miniature axeman prepares for the downward stroke in this doll's house scale collectible.

A miniature axeman prepares to cut off the victim's head in this dolls house scale automata from Laurence and Angela St.Leger

Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Tiny Working Automata:

Laurence and Angela St. Leger create some of the most appealing miniatures in the world. Their tiny automata, powered by the pull of an almost invisible wire or a tiny crank, bring a smile to everyone who sees them. The majority of their subjects are traditional, classic toys, although special automata can be made to the customer's request.

Wings that Flap, Legs That Move, Heads that Roll:

The range of the St. Leger's miniatures is always growing. From flapping seagulls and blackbirds, to executioners cutting off heads, blackbirds emerging from pies, and dancers, including Elvis, there is something to appeal to everyone. There are merry go rounds, swimming tadpoles and goldfish, a surgeon and a dentist. From the traditional to the highly whimsical (a sailor amid mermaids) there is something to intrigue every interest.

Several Small Sizes:

The largest of the automata are between two and four inches tall, but the most popular are the one inch miniatures, which seem to be sized for a dollhouse and are often sold at doll house fairs. When first seen, people are amazed that they so closely mimic the classic toys, but when you find they actually work, they become even more enchanting.

Designed to Delight:

If you know someone who loves to have a small item to bring out to amuse visitors or children, these automata will be a treasure. Designed to be used, they are sturdily painted with bright enamels and the simple mechanisms are easy to work and long lasting. In much larger sizes, similar moving figures amuse us in wind vanes, as push puppets or as cranked automata. In the sizes created by the St. Leger's they are truly objects to treasure, the type of object brought out of a cabinet and lovingly displayed. They are available from several miniature specialists, or online directly from the St. Leger's as well as through Pollocks Toy Museum in London and via some other interesting sources. If you have a chance though, the best way to buy them is watching Laurence St Leger demonstrate them at a miniature fair. It is like watching the impresario at a miniature circus as he puts all his darlings through their paces to the delight of everyone who sees them. These miniatures have started many people down the path of collecting working miniatures. They bring a smile to anyone who sees them.
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