BAUTTE & MOYNIER. AN EXCEPTIONAL THREE TUNE MUSICAL AUTOMATON BIRD CAGE CLOCK WITH DOUBLE SINGING BIRDS AND A BUTTERFLY, GENEVA 1825-1830
Rectangular domed cage composed of pierced foliate panels, supported on four columns, canted corners mounted by urn finials, the lower portion applied with foliate motif openwork panels, supported on claw feet. The pierced dome decorated with lyre motif frieze, surmounted by matching urn-form finial
The base, centred by a 60mm silvered dial, Roman numerals, the engine-turned centre signed on a reserve Bautte & Moynier, applied musical trophies flank the dial, the side and back panels decorated en-suite with foliate decoration above egg and dart moulding, on decorated bun feet.
The automaton comprising two birds flanking a fountain surmounted by a butterfly, the birds swivel, flap their wings, tails, and open and close their beaks whilst seemingly flying from one perch to the other, the fountain with water simulated by seven twisted revolving glass rods, the rods capped by a gilt bronze bud surmounted by the realistically painted brass and steel butterfly, the wings move up and down and the body swivels.
The fusee movement contained within the base of the cage and utilising a conventional series of bellows, whistles and cams to simulate birdsong as well as providing automation via the columns and waterfall, the birdsongs may possibly be “Deux Serins des Canaries” or “Oiseaux Siffleurs”, “Sautants de Bâton en Baton” by Jean-David Maillardet (1748-1834) from La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The timepiece movement with verge escapement, fusee and chain, blued steel balance spring, plain balance, the movement attributed to l’Atelier des Courvoisier et Cie (active between 1811 and 1845) in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Triggering the music at the hour.
Activated on the hour or on demand, the cylinder musical box movement with fusee, 125mm pinned cylinder playing one of three airs on a one-piece comb stamped C.F Nardin, (Charles-Frédéric Nardin fl. 1806-1823 La Chaux-de-Fonds.) Among the three melodies, one has been identified as the aria No 2 "Der Jägerchor" (Le Chœur des Chasseurs), from the Freischütz opera in three acts (op. 77; 3e act, scene 3) by Carl Maria Von Weber (1786-1826), written in, 1820 and first performed in 1821.
The oval-shaped giltwood plinth (330 x 230 mm), recessed for a glass dome, (now missing).
The plinth fitted at the right with four levers for for the following:
- “Silence” that prevents the trigger of the music to the right, and to the left, allows the automatic trigger of the music at every hour;
- “Musique” triggering the music on demand;
- “Meme/Autre”, to repeat the same melody or change to the next melody;
- “Musique d'Oiseaux” activates the automaton features within the cage
Height 41 cm/ Length 21.5 cm (approx.)