A good tortoiseshell and gilt metal singing bird box, by Bontems,
Our beautiful angels...
When wound and the start/stop button slid smartly to the right, the engraved gilt-metal lid opens as the bird suddenly appears, opening and closing beak, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather and turning whole body from side-to-side, perfectly synchronised to the continuous birdsong, ending when bird disappears and lid closes.
The bird with multi-coloured feathered plumage with noted red and green iridescent highlights, rising up through the chased and pierced gilt grille with excellent attention to detail to scrolls and leaves, plain lid interior, in the highly polished slight-angled domed profiled tortoiseshell case.
The lid surmount of finely chased and polished gilt metal maidens, each posed side-on and flanking the oval bird lid with engraved border, plain bar-lozenge start/stop button to front-right and plain polished underside completing this superb Bontems singing bird box.
Size - 10cm wide x 6.1cm deep by 3.2cm High
Point of Interest -
Not all Bontems tortoiseshell-cased singing bird boxes are the same. Indeed, with the others currently in stock at Douglas Fisher, each have subtle distinguishing unique details.
This piece goes a little further and is far more advanced in the visual department from the likes one is used to seeing.
The movement is the same, but the case, ridged slightly at the four corners, emanating towards the centre for the domed profile, give this piece a much more defined presence. The lack of a hidden key compartment also has the leaning towards what one would expect to see on a Bruguier fusee movement cased example from the 1830s. It's no coincidence, as both Bontems and Griesbaum both looked back in time to their Swiss idol for case inspiration.
The maidens, or angels, both look towards the bird. A performance admired by two very visible and finely executed figures, set off superbly against the slight varying hues of the tortoiseshell.
The designer of this fabulous beauty was a genius.