Attributed to Charles-Abraham Bruguier. A very fine and rare 18K gold and enamel singing bird box
Attributed to Charles-Abraham Bruguier. A very fine and rare 18K gold and enamel singing bird box
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On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more ATTRIBUTED TO BRUGUIERGOLD & ENAMEL SINGIN BIRD BOX
ATTRIBUTED TO CHARLES-ABRAHAM BRUGUIER. A VERY FINE AND RARE 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL SINGING BIRD BOX

ATTRIBUTED TO CHARLES-ABRAHAM BRUGUIER THE YOUNGER, THE CASE IN THE STYLE OF JEAN-GEORGES RÉMOND, GENEVA, CIRCA 1865

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ATTRIBUTED TO CHARLES-ABRAHAM BRUGUIER. A VERY FINE AND RARE 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL SINGING BIRD BOX

Attributed to Charles-Abraham Bruguier the younger, the case in the style of Jean-Georges Rémond, Geneva, circa 1865
Movement: Rectangular brass with fusée and chain, eight air and song cams, pin-wheel with seven pins playing four-song cams, the lid opening to reveal the singing bird and a pierced and engraved grille, activated on request, the bird will rotate on its axis, flap its wings and tail, turn its head and open and closes its beak, in time to a realistically imitated bird song, the bird also set with realistic multi-coloured feathers, when the song has finished the bird will automatically retreat inside the box and the lid will close
Case: Rectangular, the top with dark blue translucent enamel in the centre over engine-turning and black latticework done in the manner of Rémond, blue and white enamel borders with flowers and gold leaves, the side panels and the back similarly decorated, the oval bird cover finely painted on enamel with a view of Mont Blanc from Lake Geneva with sailboats and a steam boat, hinged panel to the back revealing the key compartment, lever to front panel to activate the singing bird mechanism95.5 mm. wide, 60 mm. deep, 34.5 mm. high
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Lot Essay

This wonderful musical automaton box is an exceptional example of the high quality of objects produced by the most eminent craftsmen in Geneva. Although apparently unsigned, it can be attributed stylistically to the eminent maker Charles-Abraham Bruguier the younger. The exquisitely enamelled case is in the style of Jean-Georges Rémond.

Such singing bird boxes are extraordinary for the complexity of the musical and mechanisms which drive the automaton actions. The first automatons appeared in Geneva in the late 18th century. They were small technical marvels imitating the movements of living creatures or beings, ranging from simpler "Bras en l'Air" figures whose arms would indicate the time, to incredibly complex works of pastoral, theatrical or other scenes such as those of the present box. Some of these automata were fitted with repeating or musical mechanisms and were highly appreciated works of art, not only in Europe, but also by Chinese and Ottoman dignitaries.

A singing bird box with a strikingly similar movement marked with three tulips and numbered 391, with the same type of mounting brackets, is in the collection of the Musée International d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Charles-Abraham Bruguier the younger (1818-1891)
From a family of well-known singing bird makers, founded by Charles-Abraham Bruguier senior (1788-1862). Charles Abraham Bruguier the younger was born in London, where his father was working at the time. He was in Geneva in 1843 working in the Terreaux de Chantepoulet, later moving to the rue Rousseau, to the rue Sismondi and then to the rue des Pâquis, 5. Bruguier the younger manufactured singing bird boxes largely in the style of his father, as did his brother-in-law, Jacques Bruguier, and the latter's son, Jacques-Alexander. Charles-Abraham Bruguier senior developed and improved singing bird movements so that the length of the song was extended whilst at the same time slightly simplifying them to facilitate production.

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