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Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732)

Floor standing clock c.1685

Oak veneered in ebony with marquetry in brass and pewter on tortoise shell laid on red ground, mounts fo gilt bronze | 216.5 x 38 x 26.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 30011

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  • A pedestal clock. Oak veneered with ebony and brass and inlaid with premiere partie Boulle marquetry of engraved pewter on tortoishell backed with red foil. The mounts are of bronze, chased and gilt. Crowning the flat panelled clock case is a gilt bronze trophy which includes a pair of lyres and an Apollo mask on a sunburst. The case rests on the backs of four sphinxes seated on a shaped base which is hung at the front with a small lambrequin motif.

    The pendulum is 42 cm long and descends from the case into the tapering pedestal, the upper panel of which being hinged to give access for regulation. The tapering pedestal is decorated in gilt bronze with a mask of Apollo below a wide c-scroll, swags and rosettes, terminating at the base in splayed acanthus leaves which, in turn, is supported on a shaped sub-plinth with a central gilt boss and a Boulle rectangular panel. The gilded enamel dial has the 12 hours represented in Roman numerals on porcelain plaques with a pierced blued steel hand for the hour and a pointer for the minutes. The mounts on both the case and the pedestal are struck with a total of 19 stamps of crowned 'C's'. These marks are evidence of the payment of a tax levied on copper alloy bronzes between 1745-49 not only on newly made pieces but also on existing bronzes in the hands of dealers and manufacturers at the time.

    George IV greatly admired the French monarchy and the appeal of this clock may have been related to the mask of Apollo. Apollo, the Sun God of Ancient Rome, was adopted by Louis XIV as his personal motif. It has been suggested that the mask implies that the model was made for Louis XIV but this has yet to be proved. Three other examples of this model have been traced in other collections.

    The original movement was by the maître horologer, Pierre Gaudron (1695-1745) an eminent Parisian maker noted for his Boulle marquetry clocks. He became maître-horologer in 1691 and from 1695 had premises in the Faubourg St. Germain and was known to be clockmaker to 'S.A.R. Mgr le duc d'Orléans Régent'.

    The mechanism was replaced by Benjamin Louis Vulliamy in 1835. The eight day rack striking mechanism has a fusee movement and a ½ dead beat escapement. In Vulliamy's catalogue of 1835 it is recorded that 'the works of this clock are very old and useless. The case and pedestal are very handsome but required to be repaired'. A further note records 'Oct 3rd. 1835. By order ... brought to Pall Mall to be repaired and have a new movement made into the case. Taken to Windsor Castle AD 1836'. Vulliamy number 1287.  Pictoral Inventory RCIN 934770
    Provenance

    Bought in Paris by François Benois, George IV's confectioner and agent, on 13th May 1820 at a cost of 6,500 francs; delivered to Carlton House the following August. Like many of the George IV's decorative art treasures, the clock was never displayed at Carlton House; space was limited - at least when compared to Versailles - and it was placed in store until the palace was demolished.

    Included in the Pictorial Inventory of 1827-33 – RCIN 93470. The inventory was originally created as a record of the clocks, vases, candelabra and other miscellaneous items from Carlton House, as well as selected items from the stores at Buckingham House, the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace for consideration in the refurbishment of Windsor Castle.

    In Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy's catalogue of 1835 it is recorded that the original movement by Pierre Gaudron is '... very old and useless. The case and pedestal are very handsome but required to be repaired'. A further note records 'Oct 3rd. 1835. By order ... brought to Pall Mall to be repaired and have a new movement made into the case. Taken to Windsor Castle AD 1836'.

  • Medium and techniques

    Oak veneered in ebony with marquetry in brass and pewter on tortoise shell laid on red ground, mounts fo gilt bronze

    Measurements

    216.5 x 38 x 26.5 cm (whole object)

  • Alternative title(s)

    Pedestal Clock