A very finely engraved silver-gilt and painted ivorine pictorial study singing bird box,
Early-period Karl Griesbaum
With going-barrel movement, the bird with striped under-bands and with layers of iridescent highlighted plumage, opening small polished metal beak, flapping wings, bobbing tailfeather and rotating to the synchronised continuous birdsong, rising through subtle and finely chased and pierced two-tone gilt grille, reflected in the plain highly polished gilt lid interior, in the fabulous engraved silver case of Bruguier-type rounded corner-form proportions, bird-form start/stop slide to front-right, with the main lid and all sides with very detailed tooled shading scrolls, wisps, leaves and florets, underside with full-fielded diamond matrix and the bird lid of raised profile with tooled diamond-form pattern surrounding the plain silver frame of a painted ivorine study of a nymph with out-stretched winged bird in a wooded setting, behind petit bevelled oval glass, rear key compartment with good gilding retention, silver stamped with the right-facing swan mark to all separate components.
Although not bearing the KG or bird-on-crest mark to movement, these early examples by the prolific German maker are usually not. But the hallmarks of his work are all there - the escapement design, the bellows scale and not forgetting the obvious outer and comforting detail - the spread-eagled bird-form start/stop. The most commercially-savvy maker, it is known that they started just making the movements, with the cases taken on by a host of varying makers at the time. Here, the silversmith was one of the best. The detail and refinement of the chasing is certainly in-line with the famous and exceedingly rare fusee boxes made 100 years before. A small movement of the hand within the light reveals that superb two-tone dark/light effect.
This is a very nice example of a 'transitional' period box where the quality of the past was kept alive and made specifically to be just that little bit better. What an honour it is to be able to see, hear and enjoy it.