A delightful vintage Art-Nouveau silver gilt, cloisonné enamel and garnet-set singing bird box,
Most certainly by Karl Griesbaum
Retailers mark for WM
Scrolling through the jade green leaves...
When wound and the start/stop button pushed smartly to the right, the bird lid opens and the bird suddenly appears, moving polished metal beak, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather and turning entire body from side-to-side, perfectly synchronised to the melodic and characteristic continuous birdsong.
The bird with delightful streaked feathered plumage in varying shades of green, undertone of black and highlights of bright red, accented by flashes of iridescent green to finish, fully reflected in the highly polished rich gilt lid interior, bird rising up through pierced and beautifully chased gilt grille mounted to plain border, in the Art Nouveau case incorporating raised whole cloisonné enamel cushioned panels.
The lid with soft aubergine and black ground with green shoots terminating with turquoise flower bells, finished with large garnet mounted in the centre, the main lid with full repeating theme to the grander scale with eight stones, the front and back with twinned themes and the sides also but with central pearl mount, frame and corners of cast decoration with scrolls and baullé friezes, plain polished underside, hidden key compartment to rear. Mark to underside WM and an indistinct export mark.
Size - 4.1/2in. wide, 2.3/4in. deep, 1.7/8in. high
Point of Interest -
The Art Nouveau period was one of the most important design movements in the history of art and taste. It captured, in brilliantly balanced play, the relationship between stylised nature and natural colours, displaying the beauty of nature working in-tandem with the efficiency of man.
The colours are vivid, the forms of shape complex yet immediately understood by the viewer.
Before the brutal dawn of Art Deco and mainstream cubism, Art Nouveau was the trailing branch of life which so many designers clung on to and used for their wares - even singing bird boxes.
Karl Griesbaum was a marketing man. He saw the importance of getting on with an inclusion into this world and what a stunning piece it is.
The garnets shine as brightly as the birdsong...