Living Picture - German Clockwork Tableau of Photographer with Naughty Boy

We know it is wrong to love an inanimate object (well in this case it is animated but not living even if is is called a Living Picture), but the object below appealed on so many levels that we had to have it. It is an 1889, German made, Living Picture or Clockwork Tableau. A colored lithograph is mounted in a shadow box with heads, arms, and legs attached on hinges. A brass key-wound clockwork in the back uses paper gears, a flywheels, threads, and wires to animate the figures. The photographer upcaps the lens and lifts his watch to make the exposure. As soon as the exposure starts the boy subject sticks out his tongue and starts to swing his legs.The photographer fusses and the cycle starts again. This is a recurring theme in 19th century photographic humor. We have the same subject in stereo cards, lantern slides, and cartoons. It is often titled "Naughty Norman".

This link will show a small animation of the Living Picture of the Photographer and Naughty Boy.
The animation will open in a small window. Javascript and Flash is required.

living picture photographer
Since the object is approaching 120 years old, the condition is amazing. Below is a view with the back removed.

On the right is the list of dates of register. The last one is February 20, 1889.

Living Pictures or Clockwork Tableaux were made by a number of different makers in the late 19th century. Schoenhut, maker of wooden toys and toy pianos, made them and our early research made us wonder if this might be one. We found a terrific book, Automata and Mechanical Toys by Rodney Peppé that described the difference between the Schoenhut and the unnamed German maker of our tableau.

With a few turns of the key the action will go on for several minutes and after it stops a tilt of the box will start it again.


living picture dates
Images of Photographers
Living Picture - German Clockwork Photographer and Naughty Boy < You are Here
Real Photographs of Photographers page 1
Real Photographs of Photographers page 2
Photographic Valentines
Trade Cards with Photographic Subjects
Sheet Music with Photographic Subjects

Return to The Collection of Collections page

Collection of Collections Site Map

Contact us at

**NOTE** All items on the Collection of Collections web site are in our private collection and are NOT for sale. From time to time duplicate items from our collection will be offered for sale in the Do You Remember This? shop on the GoAntiques cyber mall. Visit the Do You Remember This? inventory page for photographica and toaster related collectibles.

Please feel free to write us if you want to chat or share information about areas we collect but we will NOT give appraisals.

© Bright Bytes Studio - Do not use images without permission

Updated on 11/2007