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The Reading Lesson
A GOLD ENAMEL AND PEARL SINGING BIRD SNUFF BOX WITH MUSIC FOR THE CHINESE MARKET THE MOVEMENT PROBABLY BY FRÈRES ROCHAT THE BOX WITH MAKERS' MARK RÉMOND, LAMY, MERCIER & CO., GENEVA CIRCA 1815
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237
The Reading Lesson
A GOLD ENAMEL AND PEARL SINGING BIRD SNUFF BOX WITH MUSIC FOR THE CHINESE MARKET THE MOVEMENT PROBABLY BY FRÈRES ROCHAT THE BOX WITH MAKERS' MARK RÉMOND, LAMY, MERCIER & CO., GENEVA CIRCA 1815
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Details & Cataloguing

Important Watches

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The Reading Lesson
A GOLD ENAMEL AND PEARL SINGING BIRD SNUFF BOX WITH MUSIC FOR THE CHINESE MARKET THE MOVEMENT PROBABLY BY FRÈRES ROCHAT THE BOX WITH MAKERS' MARK RÉMOND, LAMY, MERCIER & CO., GENEVA CIRCA 1815
• rectangular case, the panels with translucent blue enamel over engine-turning, with borders of champlevé formal foliage in black and blue with white line, the cover edged in split pearls, the brightly feathered bird rising from an oval shaped medallion, the lid finely painted with a colorful enamel scene, the enamel scene is possibly by Jean-Abraham Lissignol (1749-1819), depicting a mother reading to her two children, the book opened to the page of the Aesop's fable of the Fox and Hare, the bird mechanism with fusee and chain, rectangular bellows, the song produced by a piston whistle, two stacked groups of four cams, when the bird is activated his body swivels, he flaps his wings, turns his head and moves his beak • barillet music with teeth in three stacks of four housed in the side compartment • matched by a key compartment at the opposite end, and the music operated by a small button at the side • the box stamped with case maker's mark IGRC in a horizontal lozenge, for Rémond, Lamy, Mercier & Co and PC in script, a 3 between.
Length of box 9.5 cm
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Provenance

American Collection until present

Catalogue Note

The firm of Frères Rochat began as David Rochat & Son in Le Brassus (1718-1806) and became famous for its complicated movements and a variety of complex novelties that included singing birds in mirrors, snuff boxes, needle cases and pistols.

For a discussion of their work see Jaquet, Eugène and Chapuis, Alfred, The Technique and History of the Swiss Watch, pp. 154-156. The firm was listed as 'Geneva makers 1810-1835'.

Chapuis notes that Rochat and his son worked for the firm of Jaquet Droz and Leschot and reprints a letter from Droz and Leschot which reads '6th December, 1804, to Messrs. Rochat et Fils, Le Brassus. In reply to your esteemed letter of 22nd November, there is no need for you to come here specially but only when you happen to be coming to Geneva. We want you to make a bird which will serve as a model for the cartels you manufacture, so that you can tell how long this will take you'.

For a biography on Frères Rochat and illustrations of their work, see Bailly, Sharon & Christian, Flights of Fancy, Geneva, 2001, pp. 211-260.

The finely painted enamel medallion is possibly by the hand of Jean-Abraham Lissignol (1749-1819).

Due to the unidentifiable nature of the bird feathers on the present lot, it is not possible to legally export this piece from the United States.

Important Watches

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New York