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Behold an enormous-yet-intricate Rowland Emett sculpture, made of eight separate machines which come to life.

This incredible sculpture was the last to be constructed by much-loved British artist Rowland Emett.

A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley is a moving masterpiece from 1984 which depicts a whimsical journey along the Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway, a creation found in one of Emett's earlier cartoons.

Daily demos

See the display in action every day.

In our demonstrations the artwork comes to life and visitors are treated to a unique, three-dimensional cartoon as automata wheels turn and colourful characters go fishing, cycle through the Twittering Woods and toast teacakes aboard a fantastical locomotive.

More about the sculpture

A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley is one of Rowland Emett’s largest pieces and was originally commissioned for a shopping centre before being exhibited at Spitalfields Market in London. In 1999 while being stored, it was stolen for scrap metal but later recovered. It has since been refurbished and was exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Compton Verney in Warwickshire.

The sculpture was acquired with the support of Art Fund, the Science Museum Foundation and the Friends of the National Railway Museum.

More about the artist

Born in London in 1906, Rowland Emett initially found fame producing whimsical cartoons for Punch magazine before creating a series of intricate mechanical sculptures based on his imaginative creations. As well as numerous artworks and cartoons, he is also well known for the inventions of ‘Caractacus Potts' which starred in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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