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An ormolu and enamel musical automaton 'jardinière' table clock, the

Descrizione dell'oggetto

5½-inch enamel dial with centre seconds, paste-set bezel, the rear wound three train chain fusee movement with verge escapement, rack striking on a bell, the musical train playing one of four tunes at the hour on a nest of eight bells with eight hammers and supplying the driving force for the automaton, the case with canted scroll corners, urn finials, pierced scroll side panels, and friezes and inset with panels of blue basse-taille enamel decorated in green and gilt with trailing leaves and flowers, the rectangular jardinière on boldly cast sunflower feet and set with similar enamel panels and containing a leafy tree surmounted by an automaton pomegranate and butterfly,\nThe 17th and 18th Centuries saw an explosion of European interest in all things Chinese. The import of goods such as tea, silks and porcelain from China grew rapidly but it was a one-way trade with the Chinese showing little interest in English commodities. The East India Company found that trading conditions were never easy and it was often essential to present lavish gifts in order to facilitate deals. High quality novelty clocks and watches made in London proved popular gifts and, as they filtered into the upper echelons of Chinese society, demand for these 'sing-songs' increased. Ian White in his book English Clocks for the Eastern Markets explains in detail about the growth in this trade and collecting in China. In England there was a drive to make more accurate time keepers, often housed in fine quality though plain cases. In China there was little interest in time keeping but a fascination with musical and automaton functions.  The English merchants and some clockmakers capitalised on this desire by making evermore elaborate and fanciful clocks and many of the finest examples were acquired by the Qing Emperors.At the same time, Chinese workshops began to make their own versions of these elaborate clocks although, initially, they still relied on the import of English clock movements. The workshops at Guangzhou became particularly adept at producing enamel panels in the Swiss style but, to begin with, they struggled to replicate the fine surface finish that the Swiss had perfected. The Qing court appears to have been particularly fond of clocks that incorporated planted jardinières and examples are known from both English and Chinese workshops. Five Chinese examples were shown in an exhibition in Hong Kong in 1987 entitled Tributes from Guangdong to the Qing Court. Two further examples were included in the Nezu Museum Sale, Christies, Hong Kong, 27th May 2008, Lots 1505 and 1509. It is interesting to note the angled scroll corners to the case of the present clock. This is a feature particularly found on English Chinese market cases by Henry Borrel, John Mottram and Robert Philp and several examples are illustrated by Ian White, op.cit., pp. 223-230.\nRobert Philp is recorded in directories as working as a musical clock maker at 6 New Court, St John Street, Clerkenwell between 1776 and 1800. Philp is known to have supplied clocks for the Chinese market and, most importantly, he supplied musical clock movements to be cased in the Chinese workshops at Guangzhou. An example with a movement by Philp was sold Christies, London, 6th July 2001, Lot 40.


Enamel dial in good condition but rather dirty, one red paste on the bezel appears to have been replaced. Movement is complete but very dirty, fusee chain to the musical/automaton train is detached from the spring barrel and the spring is probably broken, it will require full service and overhaul, time and strike trains running at time of cataloguing but musical and automaton train not functioning. The automaton butterfly has losses to the paint and will require restoration and repairs to the automaton function, the pomegranate has chips to the enamel but is otherwise good and operating. The case is in generally very good condition with no damage or losses, the enamel panels are in very good condition. With winder. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE." **Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping."


83cm. 32¾in. high


Private European Collection.

*Nota: il prezzo non corrisponde al valore odierno, ma si riferisce soltanto al reale prezzo di aggiudicazione al momento dell'acquisto.

*Nota: il prezzo non corrisponde al valore odierno, ma si riferisce soltanto al reale prezzo di aggiudicazione al momento dell'acquisto.

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