Matthias Naeschke


LA CAGE D’OR: Clock and Singing Bird Music Automaton.

Is a baroque birdcage harmonious with the 21st century? The answer is a clear and compelling “Yes”. Yes, it preserves equilibrium with today’s hurried and increasingly sombre world. A world ever more oriented towards material gain, where gaiety becomes a mere facade that cannot touch the heart. How different was the sensual, baroque joie de vivre. In bygone days, people gratefully filled their lives with meaning, coaxing the senses with charm and artistic sensuality. The desire to have beautiful, harmonious things around one was as well, the growing hallmark of an artistic soul. This was the heyday of musical automatons. In the mid 18th century, a number of craftsmen developed a very high artistic and technical standard which nowadays can at best only be surpassed by exceptional quality of material and durability. However, creating music automatons required not only skilled hands but also comprehensive, specialised knowledge. One type of music box – rare even in those days – consisted of a birdcage with a small mechanical pipe organ and an animated bird. Superficially, Matthias Naeschke’s singing bird appears identical to a baroque original. Every hour, this strikingly beautiful birdcage music box plays a gay, baroque-style melody and beguiles the spirit. It brightens the day, purging the hectic routine of everyday life. The cage itself consists entirely of superbly gilded brass. The casting mouldings were carved by a sculptor in Paris. A chaser artistically perfected the newly cast parts. The china cartouches with their flower arrangements are all hand-made and were drawn for this cage by an exclusive enamellist.

At the base of the cage, there is an enamel dial below a precision 8-day movement which was custom-made by master clockmaker Paul Gerber. The gilded hands were designed to complement the magnificent base bezel. Eight harmonious, perfectly formed side bars bestow the cage a captivating nobility. In order to achieve this, an exceptional number of individual steps - involving drawing, sawing, engraving, polishing, cleaning and gilding are required. The movement for the automation is concealed under a delicately pierced and gilded cover, lined with the finest silk cloth. Positioned between strong brass plates, the organ and the movement constitute a very compact, beautifully proportioned unit. The movement itself is an example of outstanding clock workmanship. Without exception, all steel elements were hardened and all components polished to perfection. The fly brake that regulates the speed is seated on rubies. The wind organ with its 10 tin pipes consists of the manuals, the barrel, the reservoir, the bellows and the wind chest with the valves. The feathered bird is controlled by invisible mechanics to move in time to the music. It moves its beak, its tail, quivers its body and discreetly turns its head.Fully wound the pipe organ and singing bird, play for three days, triggering 72 times.This delightful work of art is the result of meticulously intricate craftsmanship. It speaks to sensitive souls. Whoever can call such a piece of vibrant, living art his own, must be an aesthete!


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