John Wilkins's Speaking Statue

Compiled by Steven Connor as part of The Dumbstruck Archive, a continuing, online supplement to Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).


We all din'd, at that most obliging & universaly Curious Dr. Wilkins's, at Waddum, who was the first who shew'd me the Transparent Apiaries...He had also contriv'd an hollow Statue, which gave a Voice, & utterd words, by a long and conceald pipe which went to its mouth, whilst one spake thro it, at a good distance, & which at first was very Surprizing.
Entry of 13 July, 1654, The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E.S. de Beer, 6 Vols (Oxford: Clarendon, 1955), Vol 3, p. 110.