A luxurious vintage silver-gilt and two-tone enamelled singing bird box, by Karl Griesbaum,
Serial number 2042
Startling hue from a pastel of blue...
When wound and the bird-form start/stop button actuated, the lid opens and the bird appears, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather, opening and closing polished metal beak and turning whole body from side to side, all synchronised to the continuous birdsong.
The bird with predominant two-tone green iridescent feathered plumage, subtle central bands with further iridescence in plum, red, green and gold, rising through the richly toned gilt grille with the bird shown in full reflection on the lid interior, in the very attractive silver-gilt case, with the bird lid top with finely engraved bird with raised wings on sweeping scrolled branch, infilled and surrounded by the luscious jet black enamel, integral border to main lid, with the themed bird repeated to both bottom left and right hand sides, the lengthier sweeping scrolled branch in tooled silver now infilled and surrounded by Eau de Nil enamel, seen again to front with central tooled urn on the black, framed with broken-border on the Eau de Nil two part panel, below lozenge frieze with parcel gilt decoration, circular bosses also to the sides, with central seven-string lyre below spread-eagle, framed by smaller broken-border on more Eau de Nil enamel ground with the lozenge frieze continuing to the top, rounded corners with alternating vertical bars of fine tooled silver and jet black enamel, back with repeated theme from sides and containing the hidden key compartment.
Point of Interest -
This blue tone enamel, similar to duck-egg blue, is correctly titled Eau de Nil - Water of the Nile.
Two colours, so different from each other have been wonderfully paired for the most appropriate effect. The soft touch from the blue hue - almost opaque in depth - contrasts amazingly with the deep jet black hit of the remaining colour, for framing and highlights.
Notice the use of the two birds, engraved and finely tooled to the main lid corners. These have been seen before on a Karl Griesbaum wonder - the model number 1. On that model, they are shown in relief in solid silver. An established and workable theme which obviously works wonders with this tooled variation.
Griesbaum keeps impressing us and they have excelled here on colour, proportion and design.