A superb and rare silver-gilt singing bird box, by Karl Griesbaum,
Serial number 2406,
When wound and the bird-in-flight, cast start/stop button actuated, the bird lid opens as the bird instantly appears, moving polished beak, flapping wings and turning whole body from side to side, magically synchronised to the continuous bird song, coming to an end when the bird returns and the lid suddenly closes.
The bird with banded feathered plumage in bright green with intermixed green iridescence, and deep midnight blue, wing tips and tailfeather tip with flashes of red, rising through the pierced and chased gilt grille with bird-form centrum, reflected in part by the polished lid interior, in the rare Model 10 case with the whole cast and detail engraved scenes of Dutch country life.
The bird lid with a branch perched bird of prey looking towards birds in flight in the sky, the main lid with a Dutch harbour view, with bell in wooden bracket on a pier, a sailor seated wearing clogs and smoking a long pipe, two ladies with child in pier side looking out to the sailing boats on the water, front with fishermen carrying their leaden basket to shore from boat, lighthouse in distance, sides with more studies of shore-side life including a father watching his children playing ring o'-ring o'-roses, back with a panoramic view of chickens eating their feed beside shore dwelling with sailing boat moored and a vast town on the far bank overshadowed by windmill, all watched over by birds in flight, underside with full frame repeating ground of stylised flower heads, silver and export marks to plain margin, in the original dark green leatherette travelling case, bird-form key and instruction note on operating.
size - 3.3/4in. wide, 2in. deep, 1.3/4in. high - (9.5 x 5 x 4.5cm)
Reference - see illustration of this model from the 1929-30 Griesbaum catalogue in Mechanical Singing-Bird Tabatiéres, G. T. Mayson, p. 158.
Point of Interest -
A small but interesting point is the manufacturing feature of both casting and engraving processes used to create the Model 10.
The underside of the lid panel and on the inside of the case, can be seen some of the deepest relief of the studies, where the pressing has left the impression of key forms visible. The finer detail, such as the birds in flight, the sails on the boats and the sails on the windmill, have been engraved and therefore do not appear on the inside.
Much detail has been expressed and therefore two methods were put to good use side by side.
The border around the bird lid, consisting of interlocking arrow heads, is also cast as this and the lid are one and the same mass. The casting (or the movement as the case may be), had to be therefore made absolutely spot on with no give whatsoever - a hard feat when the fit has to be perfect.
Trust Griesbaum to get it right first time.
The Model 10 is also the only model KG made where the relief start/stop bird is a bird-in-flight, as opposed to the wing-spread version of which we have a good few examples to show you.