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MMD > Archives > November 2017 > 2017.11.09 > 05Prev  Next


"Nightingale" or "Chant du Rossignol" Bird Box
By Christian Eric

In response to Christopher Proudfoot's query in 171107 MMDigest,
regarding the "Nightingale" or "Chant de Rossignol" bird boxes.

Christopher wonders what the purpose was for these boxes.  I wrote an
article for the MBSI in 2011 regarding an unusual free-standing silver
bird, and included information and photos about the Nightingale boxes
in that article.

For Christopher's  purposes I'll focus on just the Nightingale box.
I had been told years ago by an old friend, who had been a stage actor
for most of her career, that these boxes had been used for plays or
scenes that were set in the out-of-doors.

This seemed a logical use of these objects, but not until some twenty
years later when I purchased a set of "Nightingale" boxes did I find a
more modern use that they fulfilled.  Up until that time I had only one
of these strange little musical bird singers in my collection.

The set of five that I purchased had attached to the lid of each box
the name of the bird whose song it reproduced.  Also stamped into the
case of these boxes was "Made in France", which logically leads to
the maker Bontems.

As regards the signature for Bontems it is indeed difficult to find,
but I have found his signature twice on the inside board of bird box
bellows.  It is a rare signature.  It is easier to just identify a
Bontems by its construction.  The only risk in this identification is
those reproductions that were made in Japan many years ago; however,
they are marked "Japan".   Even more interesting was the other mark
found on those five boxes which was "20th Century Fox," the well-known
major movie studio.

One of our specialties is bird boxes and we always love to find new
information and unique mechanisms.

Hope this helps.

Christian Eric - Antique Music Box Restoration
Costa Mesa, Calif.
musicbox@jps.net.geentroep [delete ".geentroep" to reply]


(Message sent Thu 9 Nov 2017, 15:52:51 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Bird, Box, Chant, du, Nightingale, or, Rossignol

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