1098 : Ami Rivenc, c. 1870

Antique Piece-a-Oiseau Music Box by Ami Rivenc of Geneva, Switzerland, c. 1870


An exquisite and extremely rare Piece-a-Oiseau antique music box with singing bird automaton, made by Ami Rivenc of Geneva, Switzerland in c. 1870. 

Only a small number of Piece-a-Oiseau music boxes were ever made, and as such they are highly sought after. This particular music box is in first-class, fully restored condition and has an uncommonly good sound. 

The musical movement features two combs, and a 17 key pipe organ for the birdsong. The brightly coloured bird sits in his own nest is viewed through a circular window in the front of the case. When the music plays, the bird automaton sings beautifully in time, whilst moving his wings, beak, head and tail. The birdsong can be turned off and on at will using its own control. 

The musical range is particularly good for this kind of box. It plays a collection of 6 operatic and popular airs, as detailed on the original tunesheet alongside the serial number. This serial number is also stamped on the winding handle. There is also a maker’s plaque on the underside of the interior dustlid inscribed “A. Rivenc & Co, Manufacturers, Geneva”. The dustlid itself has beautiful floral decoration around the edges, which complement the foliage of the bird’s nest. 

The case is gorgeous burr walnut with inlaid kingwood crossbanding, canted corners and an ebonised plinth base. The gilt carrying handles are also particularly striking. 

Width: 28” / 71cm
Height: 12” / 30cm
Depth: 15” / 38cm
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