- A LARGE GOLD ENAMEL AND PEARL AUTOMATON SNUFF BOX WITH CARRILLON MUSIC PROBABLY BY JAQUET DROZ & LESCHOT THE BOX MAKERS' MARK OF GUIDON, RÉMOND AND GIDE & CO. AND ENAMEL SCENE LIKELY BY JEAN-ABRAHAM LISSIGNOL GENEVA 1792-1801
- gold, enamel
- length 9.2 cm ; width 6.1 cm ; height 3.3 cm
• oval case with hinged cover enameled with a brilliantly colored neoclassical wedding, within a double split pearl and blue enamel border • opening to reveal a painted automaton scene of a workshop in Vernis Martin technique • the six motion automaton scene depicting three knife grinders including one seated at bench operating a wheel with his arm and his foot on a treadle connected to the power wheel above, a second kneeling figure hammers at an anvil, while a third operates with his foot grinding a wheel, cooled by an automated jet of water, now lacking the twisted glass rods, music operating together with the automaton, in the background a dolphin fountain with double revolving twisted glass rods, the base with hinged compartment • skeletonized oval movement with fusee and mainspring barrel, carillon music work with five hammers playing on a nest of five bells • the music work and automata operated by means of a lever at the rear of the case • the side panels decorated with translucent emerald green enamel on fabric like engine turned ground, divided by partly pierced sections of flower filled urns and borders of white enamel over lines and red beads, the base decorated to match within a border of chased trefoils and translucent red flower heads • struck with maker's mark GRG crowned for Guidon Rémond and Gide
American Collection until present
A la Vielle Russie, 1950.
New York Antique Automatons
No. 150, fig. 12, 1950.
The plate arrangement and nesting bells of the automata and music work are typical of Jaquet Droz & Leschot. The firm’s work is recognized in boxes and watches incorporating music automata and singing birds housed in elaborately decorated cases such as the present lot. For a note on Jaquet Droz & Leschot see lot 104.
The present lot incorporates a range of unusual features, from its superbly executed enamel plaque to the complex automata and skeletonized carillon music work. An additional rarity is the translucent green enamel panels, rather than the characteristic translucent blue enamel that decorates the majority of Rémond's boxes. In fact, the earliest recorded box by this maker was executed in translucent green enamel.
Only a handful of oval shaped automaton boxes with music are known. Furthermore, the automaton scene executed in Vernis Martin is uncommon. Vernis Martin was widely used in other areas of 18th century decorative arts, although seldom found on automata,
For music work of a similar manufacture and style see: The Mirror of Seduction, exhibition catalogue, Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva, 2010, pp. 60-61.
The superb quality and vibrant palette used on the enamel plaque is characteristic of the work of Jean-Abraham Lissignol (1749-1819). For other pieces in this collection attributed to Lissignol see lots 107 and 111.
The present lot's complementary companion was formerly part of the Maurice Sandoz Collection. For illustrations of the Sandoz box, see Bernard Pin, Watches and Automata: The Maurice Sandoz Collection, vol. III, p.183, 2011.