A good early vintage silver-gilt bow-front form singing bird box, by Karl Griesbaum,
A casket of aviary magic...
When wound and the soft green agate stone-mounted start/stop button actuated, the bird lid pops open as the bird rises through pierced and finely chased gilt grille, opening and closing polished metal beak, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather and turning entire body from side-to-side, all perfectly synchronised to the continuous birdsong.
The bird with darker hued tones of midnight blue and green, enrobed by the sheen of bright green iridescent highlights, bird lid interior with the negative of the top study as pressed into the silver.
In extraordinary bow-fronted form case in silver, fully gilded to a bright tone, with the bird lid having a putti perched upon a tree stump conducting the singing of two birds before musical score, main lid with large impressed study of the remaining accompaniment comprising a putti on lute, another on oboe, whilst seven tree-perched birds sing along, watched by a lizard and hind-leg posed rabbit within a woodland glade, the front with four putti arranging a ribbon-chase above flower garlands and central crest, repeated to the rear field and the sides each with two further putti foraging amongst the elm trees, and the underside with a bird about to feed her two young in the nest, surrounded by oval frame, the ground with complex geometric ensemble of scrolls and flowering branches.
Each corner with long fern leaf scrolls, with curled leaf feet. Hidden key compartment to rear, all housed with bird-form key within the original black leatherette travelling case with dark blue velvet lining.
size - 4.1/4in. wide, 2.3/4in. deep, 2.1/4in. high - (11 x 7 x 5.8cm)
Seen in the Karl Griesbaum catalogue of late 1930 in Mechanical Singing-bird Tabatiéres, G. T. Mayson, p.158 (second image down from top-left.)
Point of Interest -
The No. 14 from Karl Griesbaum is not often seen. Even rarer when you see one with the gilding retained, the original travelling case present and the action working superbly.
Welcome to the secret forest, where Putti stroll, birds sing happily and even the rabbits take part in the sweet tones of impromptu melody. Griesbaum certainly had a way of focussing on specific themes, whether it was comedy, tragedy, landscape or simplicity. Here, the fairy tale angle takes centre-stage.
Enjoy the performance.