c. 1870 Rare French Automated Singing Bird Carriage Clock

Collections > Sold
c. 1870 Rare French Automated Singing Bird Carriage Clock
Inv. #: F216

Japy Freres – Movement
L. Lange – Case


The gilt-bronze case has a glazed rococo style center section with heavily cast corners and a decorative interior that includes the animated bird perched on a small tree and framed by a mirrored back door. Below is a stepped base with exaggerated corners, gadrooned balls and bun feet while above is a traditionally styled carriage clock form with shaped moldings, a hinged handle and beveled glasses to five sides. The case is signed ‘L. Lange’ on the top of the lower section.


The finely lettered porcelain dials have Roman numerals for the hours, Arabic numbers for the alarm, finely cut steel hands including a seconds bit and an elaborately engraved gilt-bronze mask.


The eight-day time, strike and alarm movement is wound and set off the backplate, carries the Japy Freres stamp, has a repeat button out the top, small stamped hands to indicate the handset arbors, a silvered lever balance platform and rings on a bell.

The animation movement is housed in the base, is wound and activated out the side, has eight cams, plays a complex bird call and is completely independent of the clockwork. While it plays the beak opens and closes, the tail flutters and it rotates not only the body, but the entire head much like an early fusee example.


For additional examples of animated bird carriage clocks see:

  • ‘Carriage and Other Travelling Clocks’, Roberts, Chapter 14, pg. 233
  • ‘A Century of Fine Carriage clocks’, Fanelli, pg. 75.
  • ‘Flights of Fancy’, Bailly, pg. 327.
  • Bonhams, July 2014, Fine Clocks, Sale 21930, Lot 29.
Size: 11.5 in. (w/out handle)
Retail Price: Sold

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