|Circa 1870.Rare French Gilt-Bronze Musical Automaton Carriage Clock.Although rare, clocks featuring tightrope walker automatons are occasionally available. After extensive research, however, this is the only musical tightrope walker carriage clock that we have been able to find which makes it quite possibly unique.|
Makers: Japy Freres - Movement maker / Henri Margot, La Sagne (?) - Musical Movement Maker
Case: The large multi-tier gilt-bronze cast case has exaggerated rounded corners at the base, elaborate acanthus leaf corner columns, floral engraving on a chased ground along the bottom, a glazed upper tier with a hinged handle and solid hinged doors to the back. The articulated tightrope walker, displayed above, stands on the tightrope within a naturalistic setting, is dressed in colorful garb and holds his balance pole out in front.
Dial: The finely lettered porcelain time dial has Roman numerals for the hours and very finely cut Breguet-style hands. Below is the alarm dial with Arabic numbers and a steel indicator hand. Surrounding both is a finely engraved gilt-bronze mask with scrolling foliage on a chased ground.
Clock Movement: The eight-day time, strike and hour repeat movement has all the adjustments off the backplate, strikes on a bell, has the alarm train in the upper corner, all the indications in English, carries the Japy Frere 'Gd Medaille d'Honneur' stamp, retains the original lever escapement with a smooth balance wheel and activates the music and animation each hour right before striking.
Automaton Movement: Housed in the base is the automaton movement which, when activated either by the clock or manually, drives both the animation above and the music box below. The tightrope walker jumps, moves his legs in and out and moves his arms and subsequently the pole up and down. This is all controlled by a pinned wooden barrel with spring loaded brass and rope lines up to the top. The three tune musical movement is also driven by the same going barrel, has a pinned brass cylinder, a fine one-piece cut steel comb, changes the tune at each activation and is stamped and numbered 'HMG, 7650'. The three tunes, 'Marche di Rossini, Aurore Valse and Tyrolienne de Guillaume Tell' are engraved on the base.
|Japy Freres were awarded the Grd. Med Honour both in 1855 and 1867. The next medal was the Grd Diploma d' Merit in 1873. So it would have had to been made between 1855 and 1873 with the most likely date being about 1870. |
Although we can not be absolutely sure of the attribution of the initials stamped on the bed of the musical movement, knowledgeable associates offered the maker Henri Margot of La Sagne. Often the makers would use their initials plus the first letter of the last syllable to differentiate themselves from other makers with the same initials. Margot was a well respected maker and was also very civic minded as he held several government posts. HMG marked units are found not only in snuff boxes, but also in every variety of clock and novelty.
|Provenance: Although its early history is unknown, its history since 1980 is nearly complete.|
1980 - Surfaces at Christie's London in unrestored condition.1987 - Included in A Century of Fine Carriage Clocks by Joe Fanelli in completely restored condition. The picture of the clock was shown courtesy of the Time Museum with the inventory number 2342.2002 - Included in the Time museum sale at Sotheby's, 'Masterpieces of the Time Museum, Part 2', New York, June 19, 2002, Lot 213.Since 2002 - Private Collection.An image in unrestored condition was provided by Christie's to Derek Roberts and is included in Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy clocks, Fig. 18-11 from 1999.
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items for sale from dealers we worked with previously|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
Please login before inquiring about this item, or adding it to your Favorites list. If you do not have a client login, please register.