A fine antique tortoiseshell and enamel singing bird box, by Bontems
Enamel and tortoiseshell in harmony...
When wound and actuated by sliding button to the right, the bird emerges from the depths of the case through pierced and tooled gilt grille, and then moves bone beak, wings, tailfeather and body from side-to-side to continuous synchronised birdsong.
The bird with multi-coloured feathered plumage in green, cobalt blue, orange and gold, further green as iridescent highlights, edge with half-diamond chased border, the lid interior highly polished for full bird reflection, lid top with raised and beautifully painted enamel study of two resting travelers on small lakeside shore with sheep at their feet beside the forest edge, in plain tortoiseshell case with hidden key compartment at rear, start/stop button to front-right.
3.7/8in. wide, 3in. deep, 1.1/2in. high - (9.8 x 7.6 x 3.8cm)
Point of interest -
Many antique tortoiseshell boxes have an engraved or plain polished lid. Bontems workshops contained specific people for specific tasks and decoration was one of their best assets. Here, their differing model range is highlighted by the use of a raised pictorial enamel study - finely painted with much detail to add a splash of colour against the tortoiseshell.