Automata Collection

Falmouth is renowned for its automata makers.  The ‘father’ of the Falmouth automata makers is Peter Markey, whose work was much admired by the legendary maker, Sam Smith.  Markey taught for many years in Falmouth, encouraging pupils in automata making. 

Peter Markey was the first recruit when in 1979 Sue Jackson, a former Falmouth art student, opened a craft shop called Cabaret in High Street, Falmouth.  In 1983 she founded Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, before moving to London’s Covent Garden in 1985.  The site housed the first collection of contemporary automata in Britain, made by artists originally recruited in and around Falmouth.

Falmouth Art Gallery’s Automata collection incorporates many local automata makers of national recognition including: Peter Markey, Paul Spooner, Carlos Zapata, Susan Evans, Keith Newstead, Patrick Bond, Justin Mitchell and Anthony Crosby.