Mechanical Birds and Singing Bird Boxes

Automaton "Birds in Bush”

    Automaton "Birds in Bush”


    circa 1850-60

    Blaise Bontems-birds,

    Wood, gold leaf, enamel, glass, brass, velvet, papier mache, wire, fabric, feathers; carving

    H. 70 cm, W. 58 cm


    The scene typical of the French maker, comprising a tree growing on a rocky outcrop over a waterfall set next to the dial with realistic lichens, moss and plants modelled in wool and silk, seven birds, two beetles and two butterflies, the lower-most bird sings, moves its head and between songs it dips down to drink from the water of the automated stream, the upper-most bird flaps its wings, the white enamel dial with Roman numbers and a gilt beaded bezel, the timepiece movement with a silk suspension