Announcing our Expert Talk on Thursday 16 August: The Weird and Wonderful World of Automata

To complement and round off our highly popular family exhibition of stylish and fascinating automata, A Curious Turn, we are delighted to welcome Michael Start to deliver our Expert Talk on Thursday 16 August.

Michael is a trained horologist and historian of automata, whose award-winning mechanics led to a newspaper calling him a ‘Clockwork Guru’.

On 16 August he will be coming from Edinburgh to give us a fascinating insight into antique automata, their variety and makers and the personalities of the machines and their owners.

Michael says “It is a particular honour to be giving the expert talk for this exhibition in the Heath Robinson Museum. Heath Robinson’s ability to imagine machines that create alternative, more decorative realities inspired me as a child into seeing how even mundane life can be fun. It is therefore a privilege for me to be here and share some of amazing experiences I have had with extraordinary automata and the people that make them tick.”

With his partner Maria, Michael runs The House of Automata, which started 25 years ago in London’s Portobello Road as a provider and restorer of antique automata and is now based in Scotland. Michael and Maria’s clients include collectors, artists and museums around the world. With Michael’s acknowledged expertise and experience in rare mechanical automata, he is often called upon to give talks and demonstrations to schools and colleges and to institutions such as the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Wellcome Institute.

In 2011 Michael was the Automaton Consultant to the film Hugo designing the automaton (and teaching the actor Jude Law how to hold a screwdriver). Michael’s automata also feature in many other films such as The Woman in Black and Alice in Wonderland.

Images courtesy of Michael Start / / AutomatomaniA

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