Singing Birds

Singing bird cage

    Singing bird cage

    France, Paris

    Circa 1860

    Bontems, Blaise

    Wood, metal, steel, leather, fabric (velvet), brass; varnishing, casting, gilding, mechanical and carpentry work

    53 x 25 x 24 cm

    On the plate: “PLEASE DROP / ONE PENNY / IN THE SLOT / MADE IN FRANCE”; on the key: “13”


    Cage is made of straight and spiralled metal rods with dome and goldish color suspension in the upper part. The cage is mounted on wooden octagonal base with protruding socle and cast onlays with foliage goldish color ornament on four supports. Metal rack with crossbar, decorated with ivy leaves made of fabric, on which a bird in greenish color plumage with head and tip of long black tail sits, is fixed on the base upper panel. Flat goldish color coin acceptor tube is on the right side, operation manual is below. Cam mechanism with bellows, small piccolo pipe and spring drive is inside the base, key hole and winding key are on the right side. Withdrawable drawer for coins with lock and key is in the socle below. When the movement is winded and one-penny coin is dropped, the bird warbles, opens and closes its beak, turns its head and moves its tail. Two keys are in the set.