Bird cage needs professional adjustment, please see details below.
This is mechanical singing birds cage or automaton by famous French automaton maker Bontems. It was known for very realistic sound, and this piece is a perfect example of their skill. Both birds move and sing clearly and beautifully. Their little heads turn and their tails raise and lower. The cage is brass and features nice ornamentation at the base, intermittent twisted bars and a decorated ring about 2/3s the way up to cage. The bottom of the cage has a velvet lining and vine foliage winding up the perch. Everything is original. Most common bird cages are 10" and typically have one bird. This piece is rare because it has two singing birds and is larger. It is wound up to induce action. As pictured, there are three settings: off, constant and intermittent. Marked on the bottom Made in France, 5617895.
Condition: good condition with limited functioning in all positions. Requires professional adjustment. The central stick is loose, birds sing with removed base, after base is attached performance becomes unpredictable. Sound of birds is clear like real birds in the forest. Some wear on brass, commensurate with age.
France, ca 1900
Size: h. 20", diam. 11"