Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Music sealing-wax case

    Music sealing-wax case


    circa 1770, movement - later

    Gold, brass, steel; guilloche, polishing, engraving, repousse

    12,3 x 2 x 1.7 cm, 61 gr

    Gold case in the form of an oval cylinder in cross-section consists of a body and a removable lid, the surface under the lid is mirror-polished. The lower part of the case is a polished, pure matrix on which the owner's personal sign is usually placed: a monogram, a coat of arms, by which he seals the letters and documents. The case guilloche surface with the engraved geometric ornament, medallions with relief allegorical images of science, painting, love, and abundance made gold on the repoussed background surrounded by volumetric laurel wreaths. The lid is slightly convex with a medallion with a bouquet of flowers over repousse surface. A hinged lid with an aperture for the spring winding covers the lower part of the interior with a miniature musical movement. Three fixing screws heads and the lever for switching on the musical movement are on the external side. A musical movement is comprised of a program drum and a sound mechanism - a carillon of five bells and five hammers of polished steel. A winging key with a grip made of rose gold with a spoon-shaped head, a curly neck and a cylindrical rod with a square cross-section. Gold, beautifully decorated cases for solid sealing wax belonged to influential people and emphasized the status of the owner. The present étui-à-cire is believed to be the only example of a sealing-wax case incorporating a music movement dating from the late 18th century known to exist to date. It is furthermore believed to be one of the smallest music movements made during the period.