The Singing Bird Box
Designed and manufactured by Karl Griesbaum of Triberg in the early twentieth century, this box has many attractive features including a brass body engraved and decorated with white and blue enamels. The bird itself is housed beneath a pierced filigree grille and is controlled by an intricate mechanism which allows the bird to flap its wings, rotate and sing.
Singing bird boxes were first produced in Geneva around 1770 and by 1785 adverts for them were appearing in English publications. During the 19th century it was considered a sign of high status for young men of means to return from the ‘Grand Tour’ complete with these musical souvenirs.
Late 18th and 19th century examples can be masterpieces of artisanal skill, selling for many thousands of pounds and playing very complex tunes. The majority of 20th century pieces, however, are a little more affordable, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds depending on the maker, model and condition.