Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird snuffbox

    Singing bird snuffbox

    Switzerland, Geneve

    circa 1859

    Bruguier junior Charles-Abraham

    Silver, enamel, steel, brass, painted feathers; painted enamel, champlevé enamel, engraving, guilloche, chasing, gilding

    3.2 х 9.1 х 5.9 cm, 366 g

    Exquisite box with a singing bird in gilded silver case decorated with engraved and chased ornaments and enamel images. The enamel images of flower bouquets on blue background, patterns and branches with leaves on green background framed by curly white enamel border and surrounded by floral patterns with multicoloured enamel on repoussed surface are on the front panel. An oval aperture in the chased frame is in the center. A hinged lid covers it. It is decorated with painted enamel alpine scenery:  a house on the riverside, trees and a bridge. An enamel image of a flower bouquet on blue background in chased frame is depicted on the inner surface of the lid. Baskets with flowers on the guilloche field are depicted on the lateral sides. A guilloche surface with engraved ornament of acanthus leaves and a keyhole are on the box bottom. A mirror polished compartment for snuff tobacco with the lid opening up is on the rear side. A sliding lever for switching the bird on is on the front panel to the right. The oval lid opens automatically during the movement operation 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 movement's work the bird hides under the gilded engraved openwork lattice and the lid descends. The bird has a spring driven movement, with a fusee - system for the movement stabilization. The key grip is in the form of an oval and a ring joined by a hexagonal plate, with number "8", a bar with a square cross-section aperture.