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Gilt Bronze Empire Clock The Sailor
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Gilt Bronze Empire Clock "The Sailor"

Reference - 6516

Small Empire gilt bronze clock featuring a sailor carrying a bale of cotton on the sea. Model inspired by clock known as "au nègre" or "au sauvage".

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Small mantel clock "The Sailor" crafted of ormolu, or gilt bronze, in the early 19th century, featuring an European sailor carrying a bale of cotton on the sea. The round enamel dial features Roman numeral hours, indicated by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The case is modelled as a bale of cotton in a boat, against which a young european man holding a rope and smoking a pipe is leaning. On the other side of the cotton bale there is an anchor, symbol of commerce. The clock is set upon an oval base adorned with dolphins above four “toupie” feet.


Model inspired by clock known as "au nègre" or "au sauvage". The black man as "noble savage" was rarely used as a decorative theme in European horological creations before the late 18th century. It was not until the final decade of the 18th century and the early 19th century that the first clocks known as "au nègre" began to appear. They reflected a philosophical movement expressed in literary and historical works such as Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (which was published in 1787 and depicted the innocence of man), Atala by Chateaubriand (which restored the Christian ideal), and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (published in 1719). The design of the black sailor clock was registered by Mr. Michel on August 20, 1808. The present clock depicts a young European sailor, who displays oriental attributes such as the pipe.

Circa :1810
Dim: W: 8,7 in - D: 3,1in - H: 13,4in.
Dim: L:22cm, P:8cm, H:34cm.

Condition Report
Original clock movement cleaned, serviced and in working condition. Minor wear and rubbing on the bronze consistent with age and use.

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