Estimate 6,000 - 10,000 €
Price Realised 12,400 €
a lot of the last auction!
Brass, gilt, polychrome enamel plaque, buttons for start/stop and manual singing bird activation, four toupie feet.
Silvered, Arabic numerals, blued hands, gilt alarm hand.
Automaton movement: rectangular brass movement, full-plate, barrel, rectangular bellows. Musical movement: pinned cylinder, sectional comb with ca. 60 teeth, two-arm centrifugal brake. Watch movement: moulded movement.
very good, capable of running, cleaning recommended.
100 x 64 x 60 mm
The gilt brass case has an unusual oblong shape with a relief depicting cheerful putti with flower garlands and wreaths that runs all around. The top is ornamented with engraved and chased flower garlands within an egg and dart border; in the centre sits a hinged spring lid with an enamel miniature of the "Woman with a Parrot", a nude painted by Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) in 1866. When the automaton is wound, the lid opens and a rotating, chirping bird rises from a gilt open work grille. The bird has a dazzling multicoloured plumage: bright red, azure, emerald green and dappled brown. The front of the box holds the oval clock, which has a silvered dial with elongated, Arabic numerals and blued hands as well as a gilt alarm hand. All functions are set from underneath the box and wound with integrated keys. Two pushers for starting and stopping the singing bird sit on the right side of the box.
Two other singing bird boxes of similar design and identical relief ornamentation attributed to Antoine Salmon are described and illustrated in: "Flights of Fancy - Mechanical Singing Birds" by Sharon and Christian Bailly, pages 369 and 370.
Antoine Salmon (c. 1876-1951) was originally French but had settled early on in Geneva. He lived in the Rue des Buis, in the middle of the Pâquis clockmaking quarter. He complained that the economic crisis of 1930-1936, further aggravated by the events of 1938/39, had destoyed all hope that business would improve. In 1942, he admitted: "A very small order from America is keeping me busy these days, but afterward there will no doubt be silence again in my aviary".
Unfortunately Salmon signed only very few of his bird boxes.
Source: "Flights of Fancy - Mechanical Singing Birds" by Sharon and Christian Bailly, p 370.