Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird box with music movement

    Singing bird box with music movement

    Switzerland, Geneve

    circa 1925

    Charles-Armand Marguerat

    Bronze, brass, steel, feathers, enamel, glass; casting, presswork, gilding, painted enamel

    11.5 x 9 x 8.3 cm, 992 g



    Singing bird box with automation, in oval cast gilt bronze box on six feet, with two hinged lids. Two onlay relief applications in the form of a pen and a scroll on meshy ornament field with asterisks and dots on the top panel of the hinged massive complex shape lid with a latch. An oval aperture in polished frame closed by a lid with painted enamel image of Lake Geneva with the Mont Blanc Bridge, Russo Island, two swans, a steamboat, a cathedral on the shore, with birds flying toward the mountains against the setting sun is between them. The lid inner side is smooth; an openwork lattice with a miniature bird in multicoloured plumage is under the lid. The key with the folding ring for the bird’s movement winding is on the massive lid inner side. A matt-finished compartment for small items is beneath it. A sliding lever in the form of a flying bird for switching on/off the bird’s movement is on the front side of the massive lid. A relief ornament is on the lateral side surface of the hull and lid: the upper and lower friezes are comprised of dots' chains, the wide part is comprised of interwoven rectangular arches with garlands; horizontal strips of laurel leaves, flowers with acanthus leaves and stylized plants are on the lid. An oval glazed clock, with white enamel dial, hour’s graduations by Arabic numerals, minute’s graduation and two blued steel hands are on the front side in the laurel wreath. The musical movement activation lever is under the clock on the left. A winding key and a list of music tunes, the clock crown, six feet in the form of hemispheres on hexagonal pads and fixing screws heads are on the bottom panel. When the movement is turned on, the bird rises, 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 descends on the openwork gilded lattice and the lid is closed. Bird singing is accompanied by the tune LE BLEU DANUBE, the first of four music movement tunes. The music movement with a spring motor, program cylinder and steel sound comb performs four tunes, the tunes change automatically.