French, 43 mm, circa 1810
An exceptional and extremely rare watch key with automaton "Pulcinella"
Case: gold and polychrome enamel. Constructional theatre stage, Empire-style columns and pediment; articulated Punch figure (moved by a tiny lever at the back), background with enamelled countryside scene with a farmhouse at a river. Enamelled back, painting of a red open stage curtain and the weapons of Cupid, bow and arrow, in the centre.
Pulcinella is a classical character that originated in the commedia dell'arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry.
Illustrated and described in: "The Keys of Time" by Yves Droz, France 2012, p. 281-283.