ENCHANTING SWISS BIRDSONG
To date only six bird cage pieces, either attributed to, or signed Courvoisier & Compe. have been recorded. Of this select group only two were signed. Although none of the pieces are identical, each shares characteristics that help attribute them to this maker. Production of their cages spans a fifteen year period between 1820-1835. Previously unrecorded, No.359 becomes the seventh known bird cage of this type and the third signed example. Several of the shared features comprise the cage shape and design, including the grilles which are composed of delicately pierced and engraved scrollwork. Furthermore, a particular specialty of Courvoisier is the use of a fusee chain to drive the bird motion, unlike their contemporaries, such Jaquet Droz, who used silk thread.
The cost of making these pieces apparently prevented Courvoisier & Compe. from commercial success which probably accounts for the small number of cages produced. There is little available literature regarding the firm's production of bird cages. For examples of their bird cage automata either signed or attributed to Courvoisier & Compe. of the aforementioned six, see Chapuis, A. and Droz, E., Automata, pp. 214-215, fig 260, which was formerly in the Collection Ikle, Saint Gallen, one in the Collection of the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, fig. 261, two others in Bailly, S. and Bailly, C., Flights of Fancy, pp. 131, 197-198,The Reuge Collection, and another from the Estate of Laurance S. Rockefeller, Sotheby's, New York, 11-12 October 2005, now in a private collection.
Another very similar bird cage signed Courvoisier & Compe, No.11359 was sold Sotheby's New York on 10th December 2014, Lot 63.
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