Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird snuffbox

    Singing bird snuffbox

    Switzerland, Geneve

    circa 1850

    Bruguier senior Charles-Abraham

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

    3.8 х 9.9 х 6.6 cm, 417 gr

    On the key “1874 sept 12”, “patented”, “4”

    Exquisite box with a singing bird in gilded silver case shaped as a casket, decorated with engraved and chased ornaments and enamel images. Four enamel images of flowers on blue background in a frame comprised of black enamel elements are on the top panel. An oval aperture framed by chased volutes is in the center. A hinged lid covers it. It is decorated with a painted enamel image of mountain landscape with a house and fur-trees on the lakeside; a sailing boat and rocks on the background. The lid inner surface is decorated with enamel image of a flower bouquet over  light pink background. The lateral sides are engraved and chased with floral geometrical ornament. A sophisticated floral ornament over guilloche and a keyhole are on the bottom panel. A mirror polished compartment for snuff tobacco with the lid opening up is on the box rear side. A sliding lever for winding the bird is on the front side. 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 and the lid descends. The bird has a spring drive with a fusee - the movement stabilization system. The key grip is in the form of two rings with the inscription and number "4" and a bar with a slot and a square cross section aperture.