The Swiss firm of Nicole Frères created this spectacular triple signed 4-tune Grand Format Overture cylinder music box. Rarely found in such exceptional condition, these models were considered the gold standard of music boxes in the mid-19th century. The especially large circumference of the cylinder allows for movements to be longer than the average box. It also provided space for nearly four times as many teeth - the intricate arrangement of the close-set teeth resulted in music that was far more complex, with approximately twelve times the notes of other cylinder music boxes.
Such advances solidified Nicole Frères’ reputation as one of the finest makers of music boxes of all time. Established in Geneva in 1814 by François Nicole, the firm of Nicole Frères is credited with inventing the most important refinements affecting musical quality in cylinder music boxes. The result was an array of music boxes of the utmost caliber, featuring masterfully crafted mechanisms of outstanding sound quality housed within beautifully designed cases. The firm's attention to detail and quality could perhaps only be equaled worldwide by another Geneva firm, the clockmaker's Patek Philippe. The finest music box Nicole made was this model, the Grand Format.
Signed on the comb, movement and case, this triple signed box was entirely made by Nicole Frères, unlike some examples that merely contain a Nicole movement. In addition, because the mechanisms cost so much to produce, the cases that Nicole used for these rare Grand Format boxes were superior to all others in both wood and inlay. There are perhaps just ten Nicole Frères Grand Format Overture boxes known, with examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum and Guinness Collection. While the majority of these have some issues, the present box is in perfect condition with exceptional musical quality. It plays four highly complicated overture selections, including Schulhoff's Carnaval de Venise
, Home Sweet Home
, Lillie Dale
, and The Last Rose of Summer
The box bears its original brass label
Stamped "Nicole Freres A Geneve"
8" high x 28 3/4" wide x 11 1/2" deepClick here to view a video of this item.