A vintage burr-yew and bone musical automaton ashtray, by Thorens
middle of the 20th century
Retailed by Dory's of Paris
The red admiral disappears in a cloud of smoke...
When wound from captive key to underside and cigar placed on the holder, the first of two airs play as the perched butterfly gently flutters his wings to the opposing corner of the case.
The Thorens movement, to the PH pattern, on two-per-turn playing The Blue Danube and The Voice Of Spring actuated by instant stop rod from the cigar holder, with single-section comb on cast bedplate, in square case beautifully veneered in fine cuts of burr-yew to all sides, finished in style with domed bone edge beading with rounded terminals to corners, the centre with deep relief roundel plaque in gilt bronze depicting an 18th century period scene of a courting couple in formal garden grounds with eastern pagoda in the distance, swirl frieze border in cast gilt metal, under domed glass ashtray cover and plain circular gilded bronze surmount, stationary over-handle of twist rod form with dot cast detail and central turned oak grip, underside with oval tunesheet PH maker's label in white, the rare red Dory's retailer's label.
size - 4in. square, 4in. high to handle top, (10.2 x 10.2 x 10.2cm)
Point of interest -
One of many smaller French pieces of mechanical music automata made at a time when mechanical music still played a very active part in people's possessions, ashtrays, statues, pen holders, lamps and other useful items each with musical movements, were sold to those who visited the more obscure but quality outlets of Paris, during the first half of the 20th century.
Dory's was one such place, at 18 Boulevard Montmartre, Paris, formally home to Gladiator cycles and presently a privately owned café/restaurant.
The Dory's label proudly states "Maroquinerie Objects D'Art - Singing Birds and Musical Boxes". If only we could turn back time and walk in there today...