Museum Quality Antique Chalet-Stlye Interchangeable
Music Box on Table by J.H. Heller of Berne, Switzerland, c. 1870
This is an extremely rare, museum-quality music box made by J.H. Heller
of Berne, Switzerland in c. 1870. While antique musical chalet musical
boxes do come to the market, it is incredibly rare to find one of this
great size and detail, with a six-cylinder interchangeable movement,
and the added bonus of a striking clock. It is a truly spectacular item.
The house and table are a work of art. Carved from walnut, most probably
in Brienz, the level of detail, right down to the smallest the window
shutters or the slats in the balconies, is superb. On the house itself
there is a double staircase, 21 mirrored windows, one wrap-around balcony
and then a further balcony towards the top of the house. Two outhouses
flank the sides, packed with wood for the winter and with small staircases
and ladders leading up into them. In the grounds before it sit a pair
of gentlemen next to a water fountain, clearly proud of their abode.
The house sits in serpentine-shaped grounds marked out around the boundary
This all sits on a table stand that is also made of
walnut, with carved scrolling acorn-and-foliate design to the front that
is echoed in the upper levels of the house. The pattern continues along
the sides of the stand and down onto the scrolling cabriole legs. The
patina of both the house and stand is a beautiful honey-colour, reflecting
the age of the piece.
The musical movement has an Expressive Harpenspiel
arrangement, giving it lovely tone and range. It has been fully refurbished,
and comes with the original six cylinders as detailed on the original
tunesheet. These cylinders are housed in a separate, custom-made case.
Each cylinder plays 6 operatic airs, making 36 tunes in total, including Norma,
La Traviata, Martha, Il Trovatore, Faust, Rigoletto, and even
5 different quadrilles of Orpheus in the Underworld.
The clock in the
centre of the house is a French 8-day pendulum clock striking on a bell
every hour and half hour.
The piece also comes with a beautiful piece
of provenance: a letter dated 18 April 1886, addressed to the owners
from Jacot, Juillerat & Co of 37 Maiden Lane, New York (right behind
where the Federal Reserve sits today) in reply to their request for more
cylinders. Clearly almost 130 years ago this was already a prized and
well-loved music box.
Enquire about this music box
44 ½” /
52 ½” /
23 ¼” /