An exquisite vintage rich silver gilt, turquoise enamel and mother-of-pearl mounted miniature singing bird-in-cage and key, by Karl Griesbaum
First half 20th century
925 silver mark
The fabulous Gold Standard flies triumphantly...
When wound and the start/stop pull flower head to right-hand corner actuated, the perched bird immediately springs to life by moving its polished metal beak, flapping both wings, bobbing tailfeather and whole body to full 180-degree arc from side-to-side, synchronised to the continuous birdsong.
The bird atop tree stump perch with pearl and flower head mounted decoration, multi-coloured feathered plumage in striped tones of soft orange, dark brown, blood red and black, with delicate iridescent green flash highlights.
Stump issuing from slight-domed knoll of leaves and berries of exceptional detail, further pearl mounts. Within the confines of the extremely fine architecturally impressive cage, with hoop top and four-petal dome in guilloche turquoise enamel, ringlet corners and scroll-heart infill large filigree, arched sides of alternating bobbin and wavy ribbon bars, main corners of diametrically-aligned fluted columns with Doric capitals, Rococo crook upright pairs to each bottom edge, on octagonal base with raised four-grille panels for sound escape, very finely engraved top reserve with radial pattern.
Base sides each with raised rectangular panels in the turquoise enamel, framed with circular pearl bosses and finished with a pair of parcel gilt leaves, square cantered intermediaries with plain guilloche turquoise enamel panels, all above a continuous band of gilded baullé frieze. On large upright hairy-paw feet.
Underside with central open flower head on mesmerising full-frame ray-burst ground, interrupted by the movement screw heads, each of a small flower head.
With the matching original key to the Rococo taste of C scroll-ringed thumb grip, infilled centre of guilloche turquoise enamel.
Size - 10in. high (hoop up), 4in. square - (25.5 x 10 x 10cm)
Point of Interest -
Just when the riches of Karl Griesbaum's cage models are thought to have been exhausted, this one takes to the Douglas-Fisher stage as the main role - the perfect silver-gilt cage yet seen.
Turquoise working with the very highly gilt silver is just the beginning. The pure complexity of all the detail together is breath-taking in the extreme. The ever-expected flower head screws used for the construction on the better examples from this maker seem to vanish when placed next to all this finery - the pearl mounts, the forms of the silver ribboning throughout the cage as bars, and the twisting curves of the rings which interlock and dance the shape of the domed arc at the top of the cage are all landmarks which will convince you this is a giant despite its size.