Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird snuffbox

    Singing bird snuffbox


    circa 1860

    Bruguier, Charles-Abraham, junior

    Brass, steel, tortoiseshell; gilding, engraving, chiselling, painted enamel

    3.3 x 96 x 6.3 cm, 362 gr

    On the enclosed note: "View of the village of St. Martin and its bridge near Neuchatel"


    Tortoiseshell singing bird box decorated with a painted enamel scenery. A chiselled framed oval aperture is in the center of the top panel, a hinged lip with painted enamel mountain landscape is inside. The landscape depicts a bridge in St. Martin the village near Neuchâtel, two figures of people in the foreground and enamel image of a flower bouquet in chiselled frame over purple background. The compartment for snuff tobacco with a hinged lid is at the rear side. An aperture for winding the movement and for screws heads are on the bottom panel. The sliding lever for the bird's movement winding is on the front side to the right. The oval lid opens automatically when the movement is switched on. A tiny bird appears on the open-work lattice. It is spinning, flapping its wings and tail, turning the head, opening and closing the beak; the sound movement imitates the bird's chirping. When the movement is turned off, the bird hides under the gilded openwork lattice, and the lid closes. The movement is spring driven, with a fusee - stabilization system. The key has an oval grip and a square cross-section rod. The box is stored in dark maroon case with rim locks and a frame on the lid. A note with a handwritten inscription in English is enclosed in the case: "View of the village of St. Martin and its bridge near Neuchatel"