On 21 April we have the first of our bi-annual Fine Clocks, Barometers and Scientific Instruments auctions. Featuring an exceptional range of fine and rare items, we have a lovely selection of table and carriage clocks. Ahead of the auction, we pick out some highlights.
Here we have Lot 116, a fine late 19th century French gilt bamboo cased miniature carriage timepiece with Aesthetic style porcelain panels. It comes to auction from the beneficiary of the Estate of a private collector in the East Midlands.
The design of the porcelain panels of the current lot draw their inspiration from Japanese art in particular Satsuma pottery. The study and interpretation of Japanese decorative arts was a core element of the Aesthetic Movement which in-turn influenced Orientalist design which became highly fashionable during the latter quarter of the 19th century. Furthermore the 'bamboo' design of the case compliments the Aesthetic feel of the panels resulting in an object which is fully integrated in its visual qualities.
Another lovely piece from the same private collection is Lot 117, this fine multi-colour grande-sonnerie striking and repeating moonphase calendar alarm carriage clock.
The highly decorative bands and panels decorating every surface of the current lot employs a series of differing techniques to gild, silver, copper and chemically patinate the finely finished relief cast and engraved scenes to provide depth and contrast. A closely related case incorporating comparable decoration to all parts illustrated in Roberts, Derek CARRIAGE and other Travelling CLOCKS on page 160 (Figure 9.38) where the decoration is described as 'quite outstanding' and 'must have been one of the most time consuming methods of decorating a carriage clock'. This coupled with the high number of complications in the movement and dial would certainly place the current clock as one of the finest available at the time. The dial has a very faint retail signature which is now regrettably too faded to read although the word MEXICO can be made out. In addition to this the various functions of the clock are labelled in Spanish which would seem to confirm that present clock would have been supplied to a high-end retailer based in Mexico City.
Here we highlight Lot 165, an impressive George III brass mounted musical quarter-chiming automaton table clock made for the Spanish market. It was made by clock makers Robert Higgs and James Evans, London, circa 1775.
The substantial six pillar triple fusee movement is made with a verge escapement. This is then regulated by a short lenticular bob pendulum. The clock plays/chimes a choice of four tunes via a 3-inch diameter pinned cylinder on a graduated nest of twelve bells with twelve hammers, comprising notations for the quarters and full tune at the hour before counting the hour on a further larger bell.
A final highlight here is Lot 123, a fine small early Victorian engraved gilt brass small calendar carriage timepiece with twin thermometers and compass. It is signed for Storr and Mortimer, London, circa 1835-38.
The strong architectural form of the current lot coupled with the lavish use of fine engraved decoration is typical of the best quality clocks made during the High Victorian period. Although small clocks executed in this style were made particularly popular by Thomas Cole, many of the other leading horological workshops such as Dent, Frodsham and McCabe produced small highly decorative timepieces from around 1830. The present timepiece benefits from having a well specified high quality movement incorporating a chain fusee with Harrison's maintaining power which would suggest that it was made in one of the leading workshops on behalf of Storr and Mortimer.
Wednesday 21 April | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
This is a live online auction with an auctioneer.
To book an appointment to view, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1635 553 553
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