A rare and novel carved beech musical double inkwell, by J. H. Heller,
modelled as two love birds on an open husk of corn,
Black Forest, circa 1880
When wound and the start/stop knob to verso actuated by rotating slightly, the first of two traditional airs starts to play from the cylinder movement hidden within the case fashioned as a halved whole husk of ripened corn, with twin inkwells flanking blotting panel.
The cylinder movement playing German-titled Scottish airs as listed on the rare blue block Heller tunesheet for the Expressive Gamme, played on the standard format comb of single section on plain polished brass bedplate, mounted beneath the blotting panel and flanked by the twin circular glass inkwells, the lid completing the husk with two love birds beautifully carved in full profile with feathered decoration of great detail seen, perched upon the husk top, each corn piece to the opening cob of lighter realistic tone, above withered leaf with further lined detail for the quills, start/stop and change/repeat knobs to verso, access to winding spindle underneath, of typically splendid Black Forest standard.
Point of Interest -
Heller were based in Berne, Switzerland and were renowned for producing good and sometimes highly amusing, yet useful musical objects for everyday use.
Most musical desk accessories comprise a hidden movement within a more sombre case, sometimes displaying an air of traditional grace better suited for their immediate surroundings.
Then came the 1880s when for Swiss musical boxes, the mixture of styles and needs for expressing workmanship to new heights meant more and more of these exports moved further away from the known traditional description of how a musical box should look.
The Black Forest style, pure and accurate in detail is seen here in excellent size and good taste. Write in style with this quill assistant ready and able to serve you.