Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Automaton of Lion Tamer by Maker Frank Nelson

Frank Nelson's Lion Tamer AutomataTake a look at this beautiful Frank Nelson prototype that just sold on eBay. This piece is featured in Automata and Mechanical Toys

From the eBay Listing:
A hand-operated circus Lion-Tamer automata by Frank Nelson. Born in 1930 in Blackpool, Frank Nelson has been a well-regarded automaton-maker for over 35 years and retired in 2000. This automata is a prototype from his private collection. Nelson originally first produced Tiger Tamers and Lion Tamers in the 1970's. This was a prototype for a new improved model. "I always felt the need to make these changes but it meant a great deal more work".

The Tamer stands facing the Lion who is sitting on a plinth while behind them is an illustrated backboard of a circus tent. In this version the lion moves independently of the plinth on which he stands. Turn the handle and see the Tamer crack his whip once, only for the Lion to refuse by shaking his head. The refusal is repeated again on the second crack of the whip. Finally The Tamer cracks his whip a third time and then the Lion nods his head twice and does his trick by swiveling around and putting his head into the tamer's mouth.

Frank Nelson's automata tell a story with a twist in the end. "The Tamer is the best idea I have ever had - two decorative figures interacting with each other". Made in mixed media and in excellent condition and full working order. Signed by the maker with his distinctive logo on the back.

Size 36cm high; 27cm wide; 17cm deep.

See more photos of The Lion Tamer and check out the impressive sale price at eBay.

Also learn more about the artist and automata-making from Automata and Mechanical Toys

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who is a fan of Frank's works (who ins't?) can find more of his past works displayed here:


Frank is working on putting his works in a video format so we can enjoy watching the pieces coming to life. Once I have received the site info. where we can see the vid clips, I'll share it.


P.S. The winner of Frank's latest piece is a UK collector whom I happen to know and he has other pieces (such as the acrobat) made by Frank.

April 1, 2008 at 12:40 PM  

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