Plan Salle des Armoiries
Automate du château de Chillon 3 © FCC
Automate du château de Chillon 2 © FCC
Automate du château de Chillon © FCC

Item of the month of May 2019

“Chillon Castle” Historical Automaton.
A joint purchase between the Cantonal of Archaeology & History Museum of Lausanne and the Chillon Castle Foundation, this automaton offers a vision of the fortress before the archaeological excavation campaigns and restorations of the 1890s. It is usually exhibited in the museum, in the “Vaud history“ section. But every two or three years, it is moved to the castle and joined the Coat-of-Arms Hall for a few months.

This exceptional piece from the end of the 19th century is the work of the Vaudois watchmaker Edouard-Gabriel Wüthrich. Like many of his contemporaries who were inspired by Lord Byron’s poem The Prisoner of Chillon, the artist is showing the prisoner from Geneva, François Bonivard‘s captivity in Chillon Castle.
“Chillon Castle” is a mechanical and musical work of art, which displays a complete visit of the castle through moving mechanisms on both façades of the model. Complex watchmaking movements make some one hundred figurines move, in representations of the attack on Chillon Castle by troops from Geneva and from Berne, as well as the release of Bonivard in 1536. Barred windows give a view of the inside of the rooms, in particular scenes of torture in the prison.
Initially this automaton was displayed on a cart that made it easy to transport from town to town. This is how it was exhibited at Beaulieu square in Lausanne and at the Vaudois Cantonal Exhibition in Yverdon in 1894.

The automaton was purchased thanks to the generous support of the Friends of Chillon Castle Association, the Cantonal Archaeology and History Museum and the Chillon Castle Foundation.

Edouard-Gabriel Wüthrich (1865?-1927)
Chillon Castle
Late 19th century
Sandblasted zinc, copper and wood
Cantonal Museum of Archaeology & History, Lausanne

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    Temporarily closure until 30th April 2020. In line with guidance from the Swiss public health authority and Vaud Council, Chillon Castle is temporarily closed until end of April 2020. We are sorry for the inconvenience and we thank you for your understanding

    Admission fees
    Adult CHF 13.50
    Child 6-15 years CHF 7.00
    Family (2 adults with up to 5 children 6-15 years) CHF 35.00

    GROUPS (20 peolple min.)
    Admission fees
    Adult CHF 10.50
    Child 6-15 years CHF 6.00

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