Automaton in the form of a chariot pushed by a Chinese attendant and set with a clock

Maker: James Cox (British, ca. 1723–1800)

Date: 1766

Culture: British, London

Medium: Case: gold with diamonds and paste jewels set in silver, pearls; Dial: while enamel; Movement: partly gilded brass and steel, wheel balance and cock of silver set with paste jewels

Dimensions: Overall: 10 1/4 × 6 3/8 × 3 1/4 in. (26 × 16.2 × 8.3 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold and Platinum

Credit Line: The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.60.137


James Cox produced lavishly ornamented articles for trade with Asia. In China, his products were well-received and called “toys” or “sing-songs.” Originally one of a pair, this automaton was commissioned by the English East India Company for presentation to the emperor of China. The chariot’s wheels are driven by a spring, and tiny levers activate the whirligig held in the lady’s left hand and the wings of the bird in her right.