Singing bird toiletry box in the column "Exhibit in detail" (video)

Our traditional  "Exhibit in Detail" column  features today one of the most intriguing items from “The Order of Things" themed exhibition -- Singing bird toiletry box (necessaire), created in Western Europe circa 1870. It will certainly kindle women’s interest, especially of those that are keen on needlework.
The necessary is made in the form of a black polished wooden box. Its top lid is decorated with inlay-work. The case inner surface is trimmed with velvet and satin of various shades of blue and grey and decorated with patterns of wavy braid. Accessories for needlework (scissors, thimble, needle case, awl and darning needle, handle with screw thread and five twist-on miniature hooks, two coil spools and two oblong needle pads) are on the tray with beds. Compartments with two glass flacons are on both sides of the box. Three special compartments closer to the box front edge were designed for the storage of sewing accessories and other little things.

Small mechanical bird is hidden beneath an oval gilded openwork lid. When the mechanism is activated, the lid opens automatically, revealing a miniature bird that swivels in place, flaps its wings, opens and closes its beak; the sound mechanism imitates the bird's chirping. At the end of the programme, the bird hides and the lid is lowered.
Another curious detail is the hinged door with mirrors inside the lid -- 16 photos are beneath the doors, the so-called visit-portraits.

For further details of the Singing bird toiletry box (necessaire), check out our "Exhibit in Detail" column in the museum Video Archive.