Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Snuffbox with automaton

    Snuffbox with automaton


    circa 1808

    Moulinié, Bautte & Moynier

    Gold, brass, steel; engraving, guilloche, enamel champlevé, painted enamel

    Length 9.1 cm

    Two hallmarks on the inner side of the snuffbox; "345"


    Rectangular case with rounded vertical ribs, decorated with chased and engraved ornament in combination with champlevé enamel. An oval portrait of the Russian Emperor Alexander I, made in the technique of painted enamel on the repousse background is in the center of the upper lid. Probably, the watercolour portrait of the Emperor by French miniature's painter Jean Henri Benner served as a prototype. The portrait is surrounded by an onlay laurel wreath and a rectangular engraved frame with blue enamel border. Onlays in the form of laurel branches are in the frame corners. Volumetric two-coloured gold images of antique military attributes - shields, spears, helmets, banners, etc. in combination with oak branches are on the frame sides. The bottom and lateral sides are decorated with geometric engine-turning, surrounded with engraved floral ornament with blue enamel. A painted pastoral enamel miniature with a view of the Geneva lake and Mount Mont Blanc is on the inner side of the lid. Music movement with a program cylinder and a sound comb is in the inner compartment under the polished bottom. The movement starting lever is in the front side left corner. The tunes change button is on the rear side. Winding key is in the form of a hand holding a batoon.