• 500 Years Decorative Arts Euro auction at Christies

    Sale 2305

    500 Years Decorative Arts Europe Including Oriental Carpets

    20 April 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 272

    A FRENCH POLYCHROME-PATINATED BRONZE, BRASS AND ONYX AUTOMATON TIMEPIECE

    CIRCA 1890

    Price Realised  

    A FRENCH POLYCHROME-PATINATED BRONZE, BRASS AND ONYX AUTOMATON TIMEPIECE
    CIRCA 1890
    Modeled as an iron-clad battleship riding upon choppy waves, on an oval green onyx plinth
    15¼ in. (38.7 cm.) high, 24 in. (61 cm.) wide


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The present lot celebrates a long horological tradition of 'industrial clocks' which were prevalent during the latter half of the 19th century and embraced the forms of battleships, locomotives and other innovations in engineering. The whimsical form reflects an earnest fascination with technological advancement, which was shared among France's burgeoning middle-class who flocked to witness marvels of machinery at the great international exhibitions of the 19th century. The iron-clad form in particular was introduced with the French navy's launch of La Gloire in 1859 and was followed by British and U.S. comparables in the 1870s and 1880s.

    Comparable models of this clock were sold at Sotheby's, New York, 27 October 1998, lot 60 ($21,850) and Sotheby's, New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, 13 October 2004, lot 608 ($84,000).