Louis XV clock in gilded, patinated bronze and lacquer panels that creates an exquisite variation of colors and composition. The white, enameled dial marks the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes with Arabic numerals. Stylized foliage rims the face of the clock, and two exotic masks flank its sides. The barrel of the clock is decorated in red and black varnish that is inlayed with branches and geometrical patterns. A figure of Buddha in dark, patinated bronze sits on an ormolu pillow on top of the clock. The clock rests on the back of an Asian buffalo, who is standing on a base decorated with the same lacquered red and black colors as the sides of the clock, but engraved with branches and flowers. The base is set in ormolu, sculpted in Rocaille forms of interlacing scrollwork. In the 18th century, these portable clocks were sought after by the aristocracy as their advanced technology affirmed the importance of their owners.
Dim: W: 11,8 in – D: 8,3in – H: 15,4in.
Dim: L:30cm, P:21cm, H:39cm.
Under the reign of Louis XV, they became common at the court of Versailles and competed for originality. The Far East became very fashionable at that time. Lacquer panels and porcelain was imported from the Far East, and trade with Asia increased as did the taste for its decoration. Many of the clocks made at this time featured an exotic animal in brown, patinated bronze, sitting on a Rocaille base with interlacing scrollwork and ormolu. The animal supporting the dial was often topped with a character: a Chinese person holding a parasol, an Indian, a monkey in traditional dress, or putti. The most famous clocks featured elephants and rhinoceros, but bulls and lions were also done. In consequence, the success of animal clocks extended to the 19th century, an eclectic period where previous styles were copied.
Bibliography : Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopedie de la pendule francaise du Moyen Age au XXe siecle, Paris, Les Editions de l’Amateur, 1997, pp. 122-135.