Looking at Lids
The tin boxes remained substantially the same over a lengthy period. They were mostly orange, green or yellow, and more rarely red or blue, and contained good quality movements. Most bear prints of buildings or views, usually of the St Croix and Geneva areas, though I have seen illustrations of boxes depicting Italian cities, and one with a battle scene. Also some have paintings of views or bucolic interiors on the lids but these are less common. The decoration on the lids of composition boxes, and the quality of the movements, is more varied. On earlier boxes the illustration is generally finer and less overtly tourist orientated. Mythological and classical scenes were popular throughout the era with the same scenes being depicted rather more crudely on later boxes. “La Mort de Socrate” from a painting by the French artist Jacques-Louis David is such a one.
The full article appears in the Autumn 2016, Issue 6, of Mechanical Music World. To read this article become a member and receive a copy. Full details on Membership Page