A fine Grand Format Overture cylinder Musical Box by Nicole Freres,
Lot 18
A fine Grand Format Overture cylinder Musical Box by Nicole Freres,
Sold for £16,800 (US$ 28,237) inc. premium
Lot Details
Musical Boxes
A fine Grand Format Overture cylinder Musical Box by Nicole Freres,
Movement No. 45361, playing four operatic airs (Overtures de l'op Semiramis - Rossini; Freyschutz - Weber; La Flute Enchantee - Mozart; Guillaume Tell - Rossini) Gamme No. 2000, with large single-spring lever-wind action, redundant end-flap (control excess present), reeded brass bedplate, double-section comb of approximately 238 teeth, controls on right-hand side with exposed linkages and brass board, red stained interior, plain dust lid with extended right edge, large canted-corner silver tunesheet with Wales & McCulloch, 22 Ludgate Hill, Londres retailer's address within double-line stringing, in a rosewood veneered case No. 31609, with canted corners, filled with plain half columns, the lid with the traditional decorated central field of brass, red tortoiseshell, turquoise and pink enamel, the corners with similar patterns and finished with curved double brass stringing, indent circular corner detail and front inlaid with simplistic C scroll design in similar decoration with central green enamel cartouche, bone escutcheon, on small turned feet - 26.3/4in. (68cm) wide, the cylinder 16.12/16in. (42.5cm)


  • The movement has been married to the case with some care.

    Although not easy to tell exactly when this took place, it is very clear that it was undertaken long ago, perhaps before 1900.
    Looking closely at the case, the number stencilled on the underside is 31609. This Nicole Freres number would be from 1853 and according to the MBSGB register, the movement is on record as being a four-air Grand-Format Piano-Forte key-wind Overture musical box, Gamme No. 1420.
    This movement most probably resides in a collection within a contempory case, but the idea that it could be housed in a similar-situation case should be entertained.

    Movement No.45361 would be from 1871 and although built as a lever-wind, was put into this slightly earlier case, the end-flap glued shut, the dust lid extended by 1/4in. and the key compartment board removed for the provision of the present right-hand controls. On removal of the current tunesheet, the outline of the smaller tunesheet for No.31609 can be made out.

    It is well known that Nicole Freres did re-use old key-wind cases which were either redundant or supplus to requirements and as this box has been in the same family for some time, for the moment it has to be assumed that the factory case for this movement is the one which is with it now.
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