An important silver standing singing bird automaton, circa 1880, movement most probably Bontems,
Lot 20
An important silver standing singing bird automaton, circa 1880, movement most probably Bontems,
Sold for £24,000 (US$ 38,885) inc. premium

Lot Details
An important silver standing singing bird automaton,
circa 1880, movement most probably Bontems,
the standing Sky Lark with low tail feather pose, leaning slightly to one side, with deep red glass eyes, when actuated, turning head and moving beak to continuous birdsong from the going-barrel movement, hidden start button to chest, winding hole with automatic hole fill-plate to left side, on out-stretched feet, the body with exceptional tooled feathering detail, counter-sunk screw fixing centre-seem for movement access, in original midnight blue velvet-lined travelling box, with outer black finish and gilt tooled highlights, with a period key - 5in. (13cm) high, 6.1/2in. (16.5cm) from beak to tail, the case 5.1/2in. (14cm) square

Footnotes

  • Singing bird movements are not simply confined within boxes. This example is encased within a finely tooled and chased Sky Lark, with a two-half construction method for movement withdrawal.
    Bontems also made a Magpie and a Sterling, but reports of a Crow seen some years ago in a distressed state may suggest a good range of other breeds of bird were executed in both silver and large feathered plumage format.

    The birdsong on this delightful piece is a little fast, and so one may conclude that one of the governor blades is miss-aligned. The running speed is correct when the spring is at quarter-half wind.
    In its original travelling box, the quality and probably more importantly, the condition, is one of the finest seen. Heavily exposed to bad treatment, all fragile features - such as the legs, are completely straight and complete.

    The stamp seen on the tip of the tailfeather was struck, only for the worker to stamp it again, more legibly further up the edge.
Auction information

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