Information

Carved and painted band organ figure by the Ludovic Gavioli Company for the band organ used at the Hippodrome Carousel in Revere Beach, Massachusetts, probably made in Paris, circa 1900. The full figure is in the form of a standing woman dressed in a parade uniform.  The figure has delicately carved facial features.  The figure has beautifully carved eyes and painted rosy cheeks. The figure has a three cornered hat which is covered at the top with carved feathers.  The jacket retains the original lime-green paint with beautifully articulated collar, sleeves and buttons.  Even the wrinkles at the elbows and waist are carved with lifelike precision.  There are carved epaulettes at the shoulders with multiple carved rope patterns looped around the figures chest from one epaulette to the opposite epaulette.  The right arm is raised in a saluting position showing the white painted glove.  The left arm is reaching downward clutching a period baton decorated with American flags (not original to the piece).  The figure has tight white painted pants showing wrinkles around the knee area.  The figure is wearing beige boot high heels which are beautifully articulated.  The top of the boots are scalloped with carved hanging tassels.  The jacket, pants and boots all have elaborate gold leaf patterns.  The gold leaf decoration is magnificently executed and adds enormous visual interest to the figure.  The figure is standing on its original round wood painted base which is mounted to an old black painted square base which was added some time ago. (FA-1078) 
Condition:  The figure has an amazing untounched original surface.  There are scattered losses throughout.  All the painted surfaces have a gentle crackled surface.  There is an old wood loss to the back of the hat and the tips of all the fingers of the left hand are lacking.  There are a few typical age cracks. 
Reference:  Fried, Frederick, "A Pictorial History of the Carousel", New York: Bonanza Books, 1954, pp.187, 188, 211.  Ludovic Gavioli (1786-1875) was considered the greatest of all band organ makers and he was the founder of the Societe Gavioli et Cie.  He worked in Modena, Italy (1818) and moved to Paris in 1845 where there were more customers. Ludovic's son, Anselme (1828-1902) took over the business in 1863.  Anselme's son, Ludovic II (1850-1923) continued the manufacturing of organs. By 1912 the Gavioli Company closed its doors forever.  The firm spanned four generations of family involvement with over 300 employees and with branches in Waldkirch (Germany), London and New York.  On page 189, there are photographs of two Gavioli band organs showing similar figures mounted on the organ. Reblitz, Arthur A., "The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments",  New Hampshire:  Mechanical Music Press, 2001, pp.219-221.  These pages give more detailed information about the Gavioli "French Fairground Organs". Note:  The Hippodrome Carousel was originally built in 1903 and had a platform which displayed three carousel horses abreast.  It was later extended to showcase five horses making it unique in the world of carousels The carousel was equipped with a Gavioli organ on which this figure was mounted.  The Hippodrome Carousel continued in use until May 1973. 
Dimensions:  Height of figure with original base 37 1/8 inches; Height with added base 42 3/4 inches; Width at base 10 inches; Depth at base 10 1/2 inches.