Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird cage

    Singing bird cage

    late 19th - early 20th centuries

    Silver, pearls, coloured gems, brass, steel, feathers, enamel; casting, engraving, chasing, gilding, painted enamel, enamel over guilloche, gem stones setting

    11.5 x 11.5 x 22.5 cm, 908 g


    Singing bird cage, four sided, with canted corners, stands on four paw feet; the basement is decorated with blue and iridescent green enamel panels with fine paintings of birds and nestlings. The canted corners are ornated with decorative patterns running down. Twelve decorative columns hold up the cage in iridescent blue and green enamel toward the base. The space between is filled in with silver rods and columns of turned silver wire. The top of the cage is held by twelve silver and blue enamelled finials. The dome top is cut with filigree work and jewelling. It terminates in blue enamel and a silver handle. Enamel decoration in silver gilt and blue enamel is on each arch of the dome. The floor of the cage is enamelled in green and white geometric patterns. A coloured bird with ivory beak sits on perch decorated with pearls. A jewelled pull lever on the right hand side activates the movement.

    When the bird's movement is started, the bird rotates in place, flaps its wings, opens and closed the beak. The sound movement imitates bird’s chirping. All four sides of the basement are decorated with round medallions with painted enamel images of birds, fruits and flowers. Medallions are on blue enamel background, surrounded by green transparent frame on chased field.

    Two swinging doors that close compartments for small items are on the front side of the basement. A keyhole is in the bottom.