A very rare antique 'Mandoline-Zither' and automaton bird cylinder musical box, by Karrer,
Swiss, circa 1878
Serial number 3080
A rare musical treat and the bird in his garden with plenty to eat...
Playing eight popular airs, with double-spring motor, single-section comb with petit mandoline comb to extreme right for the tri-grouped mandoline effect teeth, zither attachment 2/3rds the length of main comb, nickel-plated fittings, butterfly governor on silveredreeded cast bedplate, the bird of large size with superbly layered feathered plumage in multiple colours, moving stained bone beak, head, wings, tailfeather and body, perched within naturalistic garden setting of feathered palms, dried and silk flowers and moss, actuated by extreme pinned section to reed valves and twin cams to cylinder head, in ebonised interior including soundboard frets, under dustlid, in butterfly veneered burr-walnut case, the slight domed lid with small inlaid medallion in ebony, kingwood and mother-of-pearl, triple boxwood strung frame repeated to front and sides, front with central circular glass hinged window for bird view, on ebonised plinth base.
28.1/2in. wide, 14.1/2in. deep, 11in. high - (72.4cm x 36.8 x 28cm)
14in. cylinder length - (35.5cm)
Point of interest -
These antique bird automaton cylinder musical boxes are getting extremely hard to locate, due to the very low numbers produced. This particular musical arrangement on the cylinder to include mandoline makes for a very fine notation to all the musical airs played, and with the perfect visual accompaniment of the bird flapping his wings and moving head as well as tailfeather and body, it completes this ultimate Swiss treat. This large size bird was only used on the very best cage models and some pocket boxes - prized for their naturalistic proportions and very detailed feathered plumage.
This piece is one of the best bird automaton models seen on the international market for several years and is offered in the best possible state - untouched.