This extremely rare, early Swiss automaton singing bird box by the famed Charles Bruguier is housed in a case enveloped in luxurious tortoiseshell. Even more remarkable than its exterior is the masterpiece housed inside. With just the touch of a button, the top cover opens to reveal a singing bird in red and green plumage rising from a pierced gold stage. This model is particularly rare because the tiny bird moves not only his beak but also his head and wings as he chirps his enchanting song. The bird's real hummingbird feathers are radiantly multicolored with a beautiful iridescence. Overall, the detailing of the craftsmanship is absolutely remarkable, from the tortoiseshell exterior to the enameled floral still life on the lid.
Singing bird boxes such as this rare example possess some of the most complicated movements of all automata. The earliest bird boxes were fusee, or chain driven, which meant they played longer and clearer than later models. Few boasted as complex a movement as this example by Bruguier, which is composed of over 350 moving parts. During Bruguier's career, he produced an average of only 27 of these precious boxes per year. This example is among the handful of his creations known to exist in such wonderful working condition, and it is considered among the rarest and finest of all bird boxes.
3 5/8" wide x 2 3/8" deep x 1 1/4" highClick here to view a video of this item.