Objects with Movement

Singing bird snuffbox

    Singing bird snuffbox

    Switzerland, Geneve

    circa 1850

    BRUGUIER Charles Abraham

    Gold, brass, steel, feathers; chasing, engraving, painted enamel, champlevé enamel, feathers

    3.95 х 9.7 х 6 cm, 427 g

    "444" engraved on the movement


    Miniature gold snuffbox with a singing bird with receding rounded vertical ribs, decorated with chasing and engraving. A floral ornament on a transparent dark blue enamel background is on the upper side. An oval hinged lid with enamel scenery with a lake, trees, a chalet and a traveller with a dog on the background of the Alps is in the center in a double chased frame. The inner surface of the lid is mirror-polished. Geometric chased ornament comprised of rhombus and triangles is on the box sides. A sliding starting lever is on the front side to the right. The rear wall folds upwards, revealing a mirror-polished snuff tobacco compartment. A vignette made up of arcs, intertwining curls, flowers, acanthus leaves, plants and geometric elements on a chased netlike background is in the center of the lower side. Inside the vignette is a polished panel. An aperture for a winding key is in the upper right corner. When the movement is turned on, the oval lid automatically opens; a miniature bird in the feathers appears. It rotates in place, flaps its wings, opens and closes the beak. The movement imitates the bird's chirping. At the end of the program, the bird hides behind the lattice and the lid is closed. The movement activator is spring-loaded, with the so-called fusee - system of movement stabilization. A winding key with a ring grip and elongated rod, with a square cross-section, possibly of a later origin. The snuffbox is stored in a rectangular case, its exterior side is covered with material imitating leather with gold embossing, and the inner surface is covered with black velvet. The top cover and the front side are foldable. The key is fixed with a special clamp.