Can a baroque birdcage be harmonious with the 21st century? The answer is a clear and compelling “Yes”. Yes, it preserves equilibrium with today’s hurried and increasingly introverted world. A world ever more oriented towards material gain, where gaiety becomes a mere superficial facade that cannot touch the heart.
How different was the sensual, baroque joie de vivre. In bygone days, people gratefully filled their lives with meaning, coaxing the senses with charm and artistic sensuality. The desire to have beautiful, harmonious things around was as well, the growing hallmark of an artistic soul. This was the heyday of musical automatons.
In the mid 18th century, a number of craftsmen developed a very high artistic and technical standard which nowadays can at best only be surpassed by exceptional quality of material and durability.
However, creating music automatons required not only skilled hands but also comprehensive, specialised knowledge. One type of music box – rare even in those days – consisted of a birdcage with a small mechanical pipe organ and a mechanical animated bird. Superficially, the singing bird from our clockworks appears identical to a baroque original. Every hour, this strikingly beautiful birdcage music box plays a cheerful baroque-style melody and beguiles the spirit.
Much more than classical clockmaking
The cage itself consists entirely of superbly gilded brass. The moulding patterns were carved by a sculptor in Paris. A chaser artistically perfects the newly cast parts. The china cartouches with their flower arrangements are all hand-made and drawn for this cage by an exclusive enamellist. At the base of the cage, there is an enamel dial below a precision 3-day movement. The gilded hands were designed to complement the magnificent base bezel. Eight perfectly formed side bars bestow the cage a captivating nobility. In order to achieve this, an exceptional number of individual steps involving drawing, sawing, engraving, polishing, cleaning and gilding are required. The movement for the automation is concealed under a delicately pierced and gilded cover, lined with the finest silk. Positioned between strong brass plates, the organ and the movement constitute a very compact, beautifully proportioned unit.
Complex mechanics in limited space
The complex music movement is an example of outstanding clock workmanship. Without exception, all steel elements are hardened and all components polished to perfection. The fly governor that regulates the speed is mounted in rubies. The wind organ with its 10 tin pipes consists of the bellows, the wind chest, the claves and most importantly, the music barrel. The feathered bird is controlled by invisible mechanics to act in time to rhythm of the music. It moves its beak, its tail, quivers its body and discreetly turns its head. Fully wound the birdcage automaton plays for three days, triggering 72 times.
- Power reserve 3 days / 72 releases of the organ and automaton
- Very fine clockwork with Swiss lever escapement and double barrel
- Côtes-de-Genève finishing
- Clockwork covered separately with a solid brass shell
- On the hour release of the organ
- Solid movement with barrel and fusee
- Bellows wind chest and 10 tin pipes are fitted
- There are 6 tunes pinned on the barrel
- The music changes automatically or manually on every release
- Levers for the automaton integrated in the organ mechanism
- Enamel dial on the bottom of the cage
- Finely cut baroque shaped gilded hands
- It is the style copy of a typical baroque bird cage automaton
- The base of the cage is made of brass with cast bronze applications
- A cast bronze bezel is fitted
- All brass parts are finely finished and gilded
- Four individually painted cartouches of porcelain or enamel paintings are fitted
- On top of the cage is a handle to hang it up with a chain
The bird sits on a branch in the middle of the cage and is driven by the organ mechanics by a complicated hidden mechanism. Beak and tail move in the rhythm of the music. The bird can turn its head and its body. The feathers come from real birds. They are glued each by each by a specialist on the wooden body.
Dimensions & weight
- Height x diameter: 50 x 30 cms
- Weight: 12 kilogram
- We offer different colours and paintings
- Visible brass parts of the cage can be rhodium plated
- The cage can be designed in a modern style
- We offer various possibilities for unique automatons