A fine vintage silver gilt and pictorial enamel singing bird box, by Karl Griesbaum,
Model number 7
Celebrating life and the fruits of nature...
When wound and the bird-form start/stop button slid to the right, the bird lid pops up and the bird appears and begins to sing, to move polished metal beak, flap wings, bob its body up and down and to move its body from side-to-side to the continuous and synchronised melodic birdsong.
The bird with a soft under layer of dove brown feathered plumage, beneath a good iridescent shading in bright hues to include lawn green, kingfisher orange, nightshade blue and scarlet red, rising through pierced and chase gilt grille, matt finished lid interior, in the world famous Model 7 case in gilt metal bearing full enamel scenes.
The slight domed bird lid with a finely painted enamel study of a young master feeding feathered nested doves from a small brush some gruel from a dish. Perched atop a grassy bank, the engraved border in three steps.
The main lid with beautifully toned painted study of a Parakeet pecking at the ripe peaches on a branch above with more arranged in the Delft plate below. Further fruits of the tree and vine seen the left under a cloud-touched sky, framed by tooled and incised border, finished with a continuous white enamel band.
The front with central shaped side panel study of a fully dressed freshly prepared lobster, with grapes, a single rose and a glass of fine wine, verso mirrored panel with a still life arrangement of fresh and exotic fruit including a half-peeled orange, a visiting spider walking across the apple in the middle, surrounded by infils of teal blue, light blue, pale amber and white enamels, with tooled decoration to main infils, there are four wheat stem lozenges to corners.
The sides with exceptional octagonal teal blue enamel panels each with double cross tooled decoration beneath, underside with plain Rococo crest on diamond-chased ground.
In original retailer's travelling case in blue cloth and bird-form key.
size - 3.3/4in. wide, 2.5/8in. deep, 1.5/8in. high - (9.5 x 6.5 x 4.2cm)
Point of interest -
Another chance to see the most popular model which Griesbaum released - and another chance to see that every single Model 7 they produced was different in style, colour and design. Not one is the same as another.
But there are on occasion similarities, which become apparent once examples are placed next to each other.
Take stock number 1326 - here we see Griesbaum working to a commission design, where the lobster is seen to the front like this one, but less plump and has attracted the attention of flies.
The lobster on this bird box is much more suited for the top table, being fleshly prepared and displayed with the accompanying choice cuts of berries to be enjoyed once served.
But in all cases, the panels of colour seen are varying in tone and hue spectrum. Here, a soft yet appropriate haze of teal blue cuts through the red and orange of the lobster brilliantly.
The Model 7 is a must have favourite among the collectors of singing bird boxes. What's yours?