Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird snuffbox

    Singing bird snuffbox

    Great Britain, London

    First half of the 20th century

    Finnigans Ltd.

    Silver, steel, brass, tortoise shell; gilding, polishing, engraving

    3.8 х 9.8 х 7 cm, 392 gr

    Inscription on the bottom panel: "Finnigans Bond St.W.", illegible inscription: 'To .... Dorothy From Cecil', on the sticker: "WG 747330 CHRISTIE'S"; on the case bottom "Finnigans 18. Bond St. W. ", on the label: "111 14 June 2006 CHRISTIE'S", the imprint of the stamp in the center: "MAKERS NEW BOND St. W., in circle: "FINNIGANS Ltd. 18 NEW BOND ST. W. MANCHESTER & LIVERPOOL"


    Tortoiseshell snuffbox with a singing bird is decorated with engraved patterns. There is an oval aperture in gilded frame with the hinged lid. The lid is decorated with chased ornament. A flower vase, acanthus leaves and branches are on the external lid surface; its inner surface is mirror-polished. A compartment with opening down lid and illegible inscription is on the rear side. A keyhole for winding the movement, fixing screws' heads, the engraved inscription and paper label are on the bottom panel. A sliding lever for winding the bird is in the corner of the front panel. During the movement operation the oval lid opens automatically and a tiny bird in painted feathers appears. It spins, flaps its wings and tail, turns the head, opens and closes the beak; the sound movement imitates bird's chirping. On completion of the cycle, the bird hides and the lid descends. The box is believed to be from the apartments of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden (1930-2002), the younger sister of the British Queen Elizabeth II.