Antique Full Orchestral Music Box by George Baker, c. 1875
A fabulous and large full orchestral antique cylinder music box made by George Baker of Geneva, Switzerland in c. 1890.
The musical movement features a snare drum, 6 engraved bells, a woodblock castanet, a 20 note reed organ, a central tune indicator with the manufacturer’s mark, a tune selector, and an extra large spring barrel. It also features an unusual stop-start and speed control mechanism engraved with the retailer’s mark ‘Nicole Freres’, suggesting this may have been a special box made in conjunction with Nicole Freres and retailed in their London premises on Regent Street in the 19th century. The spring barrel is 10cm / 4” in diameter, and the cylinder is 49cm / 19 ½” long and 7cm / 2 ¾” diameter.
The music box plays 12 well known operatic tunes of the day as detailed on the original tunesheet, including ‘Poet and Peasant’ (shown in the video), Offenbach’s ‘Grand Duchess’, Bellini’s ‘Norma’ and ‘Rosita’, and Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. The sound is very fine.
The case is impressive, veneered in rosewood with beautiful inlaid central cartouches of various woods to the lid and front along. The lid, front, and sides are also inlaid with kingwood crossbanding and tulipwood stringing, as do both the interior of the lid and the dust cover. It also boasts inlaid canted corners and gilded ormolu side handles, and sits on an ebonised plinth.
A magnificent example.