A RARE GOLD, ENAMEL AND PEARL SNUFF BOX WITH 'TEMPLE' AUTOMATON, MUSIC, WATCH AND VINAIGRETTE, SENÉ & NEISSER, GENEVA, 1807/1808, the musical movement unsigned but the barrel signed 'fait par Puyroche à Genève'
Rectangular book form, the front cover painted with a tensely-poised leopard contemplating a cluster of grapes within a chased and enamelled vine tendril border set with pearl grapes, opening to reveal a magical temple dedicated to Music and chased in four-colour golds over an enamelled ground painted with luxuriant trees and sprawling rose bushes: as the music plays the spiral glass columns and architrave scintillate with changing colours, the sun spins in the pediment and in the centre, double doors open to reveal an articulated dancer and musician perform before a 'gothick' backdrop that slides to reveal an inner sanctury with a flaming altar to Love, the spine of the book divided into four sections each framed by pearls and decorated with trophies of Gardening and Plenty, the top section concealing a watch with white enamelled outer ring and arabic numerals on a sablé ground, the two central sections opening together to form a key compartment, the bottom section enclosing a tiny vinaigrette with pierced grille, the three further sides enamelled in translucent scarlet, the back cover with a still life of fruits and flowers surrounding an antique urn, the case with maker's mark, the movement unsigned but the barrel signed 'fait par Puyroche à Genève’. The brothers Puyroche where établisseurs, the persons who assembled a movement from parts supplied by individual artisans
The makers of the box, Sené & Neisser,
Like the more famous Jean-George Rémond, Henry Neisser had come to Geneva as a young man in 1783. In 1798, he married Louise Debary and joined the bijouterie business of her sister’s husband, Philippe Sené, known as Sené & Detalla.
Around 1805 Detalla left and the firm became known as Sené & Neisser, registering a maker’s mark S.N in a horizontal lozenge according to the new French regulations which came into force at the beginning of 1807. Sené died in November 1808 leaving Neisser to go into business on his own.