Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird box

    Singing bird box


    late 19th century

    Brass, steel, feathers, enamel; casting, guilloche, engraving, gilding

    10 x 5.7 x 3.5 cm, 491 gr


    Singing bird box in a gilt cast case in the form of a low casket with ornately shaped sides. Guilloche pattern is on all sides. The upper side is decorated with engraved onlay elements with golden coating of yellow, green and pink colours. Bird's nests with pink gilded nestlings among the bindweed green leaves are in the corners. An oval medallion in a narrow chased ring inside a green lining of acanthus leaves is in the center. Onlay pink bird is on the right side, silvery one is on the left side. An image of different colours metal over the golden against a background of silver mountains and red enamel sky, ships sailing with white enamel sails is on the medallion. Five five-pointed stars with inserts of small diamonds is in the sky. Wavy guilloche background is under red transparent enamel. Onlay pink rosettes are in the corners. The medallion on the top side serves as a cover for the singing bird movement. It automatically opens when the movement is turned on, a miniature bird in painted feathers appears from beneath. It turns in place, flaps its wings, opens and closes the beak. The sound movement imitates bird’s chirping. At the end of the program, the bird is hidden under the openwork gilded lattice and the lid is lowered.

    A sliding switch is on the box front side. The box is stored in the case that is covered with brown leather and pasted with coloured paper inside. Satin pads are inside the lid’s halves. The box and key are stored in the lodgements.