Clocks and Objects with Movement

Singing bird box

    Singing bird box

    Germany, Pforzheim

    The 20th century

    Brenk Emil

    Steel, brass, enamel, metal, painted bird feathers; polishing, champlevé enamel, painted enamel, gilding, mechanical works

    5 x 10.3 x 6.8 cm

    On the bottom panel: “METALL”, “GERMANY”; mark in oval “EB”


    Casket shaped box in rectangular case, made of gilded metal, with geometric ornament. Enamel images of the swinging man, young man hiding among flouring plants and trees, a slipper falling off a girl’s foot. Oval aperture in goldish frame with geometric pattern, closed by a hinged lid with polychrome enamel image of a girl in a hat on swings is in the panel center. The lid inner surface and bottom panel are gilded and polished. Сhased frame in the form of straight and wavy lines with leaves in the corners, mark and an aperture with pin for winding the bird's movement are on the bottom panel. Sliding activating lever of the bird movement with embossed onlay is on the front side. When the mechanism is activated, the lid is automatically opened, miniature bird with painted brown, green and yellow feathers appears on the openwork gilded lattice surface. The bird spins on the spot, flaps its wings, opens and closes the beak; the musical movement imitates sonorous bird chirping. When the program is finished, the bird hides in the openwork lattice cavity and the lid is closed. The bird movement drive is spring-loaded, with fusee - a system for stabilizing the mechanism movement.
    The image on the box top panel is based on the famous painting by the French artist and engraver Jean-Honore Fragonard (April 5,1732 - August 22,1806) “The Swing”, created circa 1796.