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Bontems
 
Lot No. 454
Lot No. 454
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A remarkable collection of artefacts left over from the liquidation of French company Bontems, who were among the most important makers of singing bird boxes and automatons in the 19th and 20th century. The lot includes six chests of drawers and several boxes with small components such as cam plates, spoke wheels, wooden bellows, barrels, fans, valves, screws, arbors and so on; also samples for different patterns, birdcages, stands and boxes, pierced grilles, enamel plaques, metal casing and framework for singing birds, catalogues, certificates, design drafts, signed tools and a flute producing birdsong.
Estimate  16,000 - 20,000 €

Price Realised  21,900 €
a lot of the last auction!
Product Details
CASE
CIRCA
1900
ORIGIN
French
Product Description

Clockmaker Blaise Bontems (1814-1893) was a noted Parisian specialist in the manufacture of automaton singing birds and the first of a dynasty of automaton manufacturers, which included his son Charles Jules and his grandson Lucien. A Bontems cousin, Alfred, founded his own firm. The era ended when Lucien Bontems died in 1956 and the firm was then purchased by Reuge of St. Croix in Switzerland.
The masterpieces by Bontems were celebrated for the sweet authenticity of the bird song and of course for the excellent craftsmanship of the mechanics. The Bontems family often showed their superb creations at international exhibitions and were regularly awarded prizes. In 1862 the company had many international customers and 90% of their products would be sold outside France. Bontems won 52 medals and many patents – among the medals was one awarded by Napoleon III and one presented by Leopold II of Belgium.
For greater detail on the house Bontems, see "Flights of Fancy - Mechanical Singing Birds" by Sharon and Christian Bailly, pp. 305-347, which also has several illustrations of their work.

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