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H5043 Musical automaton with clock, animated birds and swans, wood / metal / feathers, [clock by Japy Freres (Japy Brothers) and automaton by the Bontems family], France, 1870-1900. Click to enlarge.

French musical automaton by Bontems family

Made
  • 1870-1900
This automaton features six colourful animated birds, a waterfall, a tree surrounded by rocks and plants, a pond with three miniature waterbirds, and a clock. The mechanism, including bellows and a flute to reproduce bird calls, is hidden in the base and activated by a key.

While the names of its makers are unknown, it was probably crafted in Paris in the late 1800s, with clock by Japy Freres(Japy Brothers) and automaton by the Bontems family. Blaise Bontems (1814-1881) was renowned for …

Summary

Object No.

H5043

Object Statement

Musical automaton with clock, animated birds and swans, wood / metal / feathers, [clock by Japy Freres (Japy Brothers) and automaton by the Bontems family], France, 1870-1900

Physical Description

Automaton fitted with musical movement and clock. It features a nature scene, with a large tree overlooking eight colourful birds beneath its branches. A key wind on the the right hand side of the automaton can be turned to activate the birds movement; the bird in the centre whistles, two birds make feeding movements, two fly from branch to branch, one flutters its wings, and two are static. A miniature swan swims on the pond and two ducks turn slightly. Twisted glass rod gives the illusion of flowing water. A small, white enamelled clockface with black Roman numerals is attached to the left hand side of the scene. The automaton is fixed to a heavy gilt base with wreath ornamentation and four spherical feet. It is missing its original dome.

Dimensions

Height

660 mm

Width

665 mm

Depth

310 mm

Production

Made

  • 1870-1900

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1949

Acquisition Date

3 October 1949

Cite this Object

Harvard

French musical automaton by Bontems family 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 November 2022, <https://ma.as/241685>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/241685 |title=French musical automaton by Bontems family |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 November 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}