Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Musical snuffbox with automaton

    Musical snuffbox with automaton

    Switzerland, Geneve

    The 1800's

    Golay Louis, Sène & Detalla à Gèneve

    Brass, steel, glass; engraving, chasing, enamel over guilloche, champleve enamel, painted enamel, guilloche, polishing

    9.8 x 6 x 4 cm, 455 g

    Marks in the tobacco compartment: ”S&D”, inscription on the movement: ”Golay 1804”. Inside the box: ”By Appointment Antique Dealers S.J. Phillips, 139 New Bond Street, London W.1.”


    Gold rectangular snuffbox with bevelled vertical ribs and hinged upper and bottom lids. Chain of half-pearls frames transparent upper lid. The automaton is under the lid, on painted enamel background with mountain landscape and lake. The volumetric elements of the automaton of four-colour gold, are on the foreground - a magician dressed in  robe and pointed cap with magic wand in one hand and a spell book in the other, stands in front of round altar, twined with garlands of golden leaves with ribbons, a snake and a skull with bones are at the magician's feet and, in the distance - an incense burner. Trees with curved trunks and colorful leaves surround the whole scenery. An aperture for the crown with square pin is in the upper right hand corner. When the movement is activated, the magician turns to his book and waves his magic wand, at the same moment a vase suddenly appears on the altar. After the next waving of his hand, a bush with red berries appears from the vase. The gesture is repeated and a small bird in motley plumage takes off to the top of the bush. The bird sings, its wings and tail move simultaneously, the beak opens and closes. While the bird is singing, the magician waves his magic wand - as if conducting a singing lesson. After the bird stops singing the magician again waves his wand, and all three objects disappear. The movement-activating knob is on the right side. Enamel miniatures rimmed with blue enamel frames with fine engraving on blue enamel background are on the snuffbox lateral sides. The miniatures feature scenes from rural life. Guilloche field under transparent blue enamel is on the bottom lid. Engraved enamel image of vase with flowers is in the center. White meander border in combination with the fans of blue and golden leaves of four-petalled blue flowers is along the perimeter. The lid inner surface and tobacco compartment are mirror-polished.
    Two maker's marks are inside the box. Brass crown is with conical rod, steel insert and oval grip.
    Rectangular box, covered with brown leather is of later origin.


    Инв. 2977/ДПИ