A Wonderful George III Bird Cage Holding a Taxidermy Budgerigar

Origin: English
Period: George III
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1815-25 (the cage) & c.1890 (the specimen)
Width: 12 inches
Height: 20 inches
Depth: 9 inches

The Georgian period domed rectangular bird cage in a stained fruit or softwood containing a Victorian taxidermy specimen of a male budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) perched on the cages integral swinging perch, the cage with turned cresting and brass ring finial, with turned columns to the angles, and lead lined slide pull-out drawer with brass handle to the base.

The cage itself is in pretty fine fettle considering its age. There is no damage to note to the ensemble but the two bottle green panes of glass present are later replacements (the originals would have almost certainly been frosted and etched) and the other two glass panels are lacking but the actual structure itself is totally original and the perch, tray, and latched door are all original and in working order. The budgerigar specimen is a little tatty he remains charming and in tact and overall the whole remains an attractive piece in its entirety.

Birdcages such as this were often built to represent monumental buildings, such as the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower or a Georgian mansion. At one point, parrots were only housed in these fanciful cages to roost. Ornamented and structurally lavish cages became popular among the noble classes in Europe around the 14th century. Experts and collectors agree that of these early cages, the most talented artisans were the French and the Dutch. In France, a guild of cage makers was licensed and chartered by royalty to fabricate cages generally made of iron or brass wire. These guilds of artisans made cages specifically for male and female songbirds. At the same time, in other areas of the world, cages were being built out of bamboo, wicker, wood, rattan and reed.

Male specimens of budgerigars are considered to be one of the top five talking champions amongst parrot species, alongside the African grey, the Amazon, and the Eclectus parrots, and the ring-necked parakeet. Puck, a male budgerigar owned by American Camille Jordan, holds the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words.

We’ve yet to get one word uttered from this rather aloof chap thus far but we do enjoy a challenge so we will keep you posted…