Antique Drum, Bell and Castanet Music Box with Mandarin Automata by Cuendet, c. 1890
A very scarce and highly entertaining drum, bell and castanet antique music box made by J. Cuendet in Geneva, Switzerland in c. 1890.
The musical movement has the magnificent feature of three mandarin automata as strikers for the 6 rack-mounted saucer bells. Each strikes the bells and turns his head with the music, creating a wonderful spectacle. The musical movement also features a drum with 6 beaters, a castanet, a tune indicator on the left hand side, and a zither bar. It is unusual to find the combination of these automata strikers with drum, bell and castanet.
The music box plays a selection of 12 popular tunes of the day with an excellent, bright sound. Tunes include Donizetti’s ‘Lucrezia Borga’, Gounod’s ‘Faust’, and ‘Les Cloches de Corneville’, as listed on the original tunesheet.
This is housed within a rosewood veneered case with a floral motif inlay to the lid, along with tulipwood banding and boxwood stringing to the lid and front, and gilded side handles.
A very scarce, utterly charming and great-sounding music box.