Antique Symphonique Music Box with Bells by Dawkins of Geneva, Switzerland, c. 1893
This is a rare and rather special antique music box made by the firm of Dawkins in Geneva in c. 1893.
It features seven saucer bells, each topped with a pink enamelled flower, and struck by an array coloured enamel strikers: 2 butterflies, 2 dragonflies and 3 bees. This is itself is beautiful and charming, particularly given the size and impact of this music box (it is large and important).
However, the Symphonique format gives this box an uncommonly rich and complex sound, not dissimilar to a sublime harmony although on only one comb. As a result, the sound is magnificent, and perfectly pitched with the accompaniment of the bells. It is not easy to find bell boxes like this. The musical movement also features a tune indicator. A couple of the strikers have had some later restoration but are still very colourful.
The case is large and impressive, of rosewood veneer and kingwood crossbanding with a brass and mother-of-pearl lozenge inlay to the lid, along with a gilt satyr’s head escutcheon and gilt scrolling scallop carrying handles. There is an interior dustlid, veneered with kingwood.
The tunesheet is original, and has the unusual quirk of having been mis-written, as described on the later handwritten addition – so that tune # 9 features at the top of the list. It also features the serial number 44187.