Antique Sublime Harmony Interchangeable Drum, Bell & Castanet Music Box by George Baker, c. 1890
A large and important Sublime Harmony orchestral music box with three interchangeable cylinders made by the firm of George Baker in Geneva Switzerland in c. 1890.
The two comb Sublime Harmony musical movement has recently been fully serviced and plays with an exquisite sound. The movement features a magnificent array of orchestral elements and features: a drum with 8 beaters; six bells; and an ornate wooden castanet with 6 beaters.
The musical movement also has an abundance of luxury features: a tune indicator, engraved with the maker’s name, together with a tune selector; a huge double spring to power the machine; a speed control, marked with the maker’s cypher that also appears on the original leather lifting tabs of the interior glass dust lid and also on the tunesheet; a huge butterfly governor; and two engraved zither bars over the combs. The bells, drum and castanet can all be engaged and disengaged at will using the levers to the front of the movement. This magnificent music box was made in Geneva in c, 1890 by George Baker, and bears serial number 15095 as shown on the tunesheet. Note how the many parts of the mechanism are numbered either with the music box’s serial number ‘15095’ (appearing on the winding handle and tunesheet), or the abbreviation ‘95’ (appearing on the governor’s butterfly, guard and support).
The cylinders are each individually numbered and correspond to the original tunesheet. The selection of music is impressive: cylinder one features a wealth of operatic tunes including Verdi’s Aida, Il Trovatore & La Traviata; Bellini’s Norma,; Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor; and Rossini’s Stabat Mater; cylinder 2 plays popular tunes including God Save the Queen, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, Home Sweet Home, and Sullivan’s Mikado; and cylinder 3 plays dances, including an array of 6 waltzes (including Die Fledermaus by Strauss and Waldteufel’s Francini), as well as Offenbach’s Orpheus. All of these are detailed on the gorgeous original tunesheet fixed to the interior of the lid. The sound of this music box is first-class and of a calibre corresponding to the impressive presence of the music box.
The case is veneered in beautiful burr walnut and ebony together with boxwood stringing. The lid and front of the music box case are each inlaid with a brass, ebony, kingwood, mother-of-pearl and enamel cartouche, and interior of the lid in veneered in bird’s eye maple. At the sides are excellent quality gilt bronze carrying handles. This sits on top of a later matching table veneered in burr walnut with boxwood stringing, featuring a central drawer for storing the spare cylinders.
The sum is a magnificent and rare exhibition quality music box by an excellent maker and with a superb sound.