One of the rarest examples of a mechanical bird box ever seen, this extraordinary box features not one, but two brilliantly colored love birds. When the lid is opened, the delightful pair begin to sing their sweet, melodious tune, with their bodies, wings and beaks in full motion. While the presence of two singing birds makes this an exceptional rarity, it is distinguished in all other respects as well. The sterling silver casing is handsomely set with panels of powder blue enamel and hand-painted porcelain miniatures decorated with serene seascapes. The complex mechanism has the amazing ability to successfully engage two independently moving birds within a casing typically designed for a single bird. The one-of-a-kind objet d'art was inspired by the mechanical complexity of 19th-century Swiss automata, and it represents the pinnacle of the art form.
Mechanical singing bird boxes initially appeared in the 1780s as entertainment for royalty and wealthy noblemen, symbolizing sophistication and refinement. Known as tabatiére in France (from the French word for tobacco, for they resemble tobacco or snuff boxes) these boxes reflect mankind's long fascination with birds. Since antiquity, the bird has been associated with the soul and spirit, a divine liaison between worldly pleasures and magical powers. During the 18th century, it became fashionable to own exotic birds as pets, creating a sharp rise in the number of imported birds into Europe from areas such as the Canary Islands (from which the breed canary is derived). This, coupled with advancements in mechanical science, gave rise to the tabatiére. Today, these singing bird boxes continue to delight and are highly sought after by collectors.
This bird box comes complete with a fitted presentation box.
Bird box: 4 1/4“ wide x 2 7/8” deep x 2“ high
Presentation box: 8 1/2“ wide x 5 3/8” deep x 3 7/8“ highClick here to view a video of this item.