A fabulous cushion-form vintage Sterling silver and full guilloche enamel singing bird box with timepiece
Most certainly by A. Salmon
Timepiece by C. Bucherer
The true blue masterpiece...
When wound and the enamelled start/stop bar slid to the right, the finely enamelled bird lid pops open and the bird appears, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather, opening and closing polished metal beak and turning briskly from side to side, synchronised to the continuous birdsong, ending when the bird vanishes as the lid closes. All as time ticks away at the front.
The bird with incredibly detailed feathered plumage in dark brown and moss green, heavily highlighted with bands of iridescence in many hues including red, orange, green, purple and midnight blue, shimmering at varying strengths according to the light, rising through silver pierced and chased grille with bird-form centrum, matt finished lid interior, ridged border in silver with the compass points having single flower sprays.
The bird lid top with outstanding multi-tone enamel, with arced large rose and delphinium heads on shimmering white ground, framed by gilt bowbells and engine turned blue border, main lid to the cushion profile of shaped rounded form, ogee panelled edge of eight blue enamelled segments each finished with the polished silver structure and highlighted by four black lozenge bars continuing to the four corners at the sides, with each of these main sides with larger full engine turned blue enamel panels with sweeping profiles including the two extreme sides to full semi-rondo form, all with extremely fine painted rose garlands and leaf trails.
The Bucherer timepiece to front centre with square dial, closed black square chapter ring and Western Arabic numerals, blued brequet hands, signed to centre, base edge with repeated single flower spray frieze, all raised on four silver scroll toed feet, plain underside with stamp for Sterling, timepiece wind/time set crown.
5in. wide, 3in. deep, 2.3/4in. high - (12.5 x 7.5 x 7cm)
Point of Interest -
The gem of all going-barrel singing bird boxes, the timepiece feature is framed on this splendid example by the finery expected and indeed excelled by these workshops in Geneva.
Marguerat and Bontems produced very few of these timepiece beauties from around 1920, with the main object of desire being the enamel. The technical problem with the cushion-form box is the sheer difficulty of getting the enamel to be perfect on silver panels where the curve is up to a full semi-circle. The two main sides on this box being a perfect example.
These have been executed magnificently - perfectly. No blemishes, no thinning occurring during the firing process. This was made be a team comprising of true geniuses, whose skills have sadly not been repeated since.
Welcome to the singing bird box which will transmit total astonishment for many years to come.