A Forgotten Genius


This is a portrait by Gainsborough of John Joseph Merlin, born in Belgium, a brilliant inventor & mechanician who built one of the most beautiful pieces of automata, the silver swan now in the Bowes museum.

He worked with Charles Burney on improving keyboard  & other musical instruments, is often claimed he invented rollers skates, but he just used them s a publicity stunt & crashed into a huge mirror. He later ran his own museum of automata.

He knew many famous people of his time, developed theatre design and there is something almost magical about a lot of his inventions.

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