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    Sale 2796

    The P.C. Spaans Collection of Important European Clocks

    19 December 2007, Amsterdam

  • Lot 466

    A George III ebonised and brass-mounted striking and musical automaton table clock


    Price Realised  


    A George III ebonised and brass-mounted striking and musical automaton table clock
    Stephen Rimbault, London. Circa 1765
    The case with brass handle to brass-bound bell top, pineapple finials to the corners, front and rear doors brass-lined and with engraved brass frets, the sides with brass-lined fret roundels and panels, with caryatid mounts to all chamfered corners, with brass-bound plinth raised on brass bracket feet, the 17.25 cm. (7 in.) wide brass dial with gilt-brass foliate spandrels to silvered chapter ring, matted centre with mock pendulum and date apertures, the former with plate signed Rimbault London, blued steel hands, the chapter ring bisected by subsidiary rings for strike/silent and tune selection (Bath Minuet, My Croaker, Minuet, God Save the King), each with floral painted centres, the arch with painted scene of musicians (four with automaton arms) playing beside a harbour, the eight day movement secured to the case with bolts through the lower pillars, with six pillars, twin gut fusees, reconverted verge escapement, with hour strike on later bell and hourly music on nine bells via fifteen hammers and 7 cm. long pinned cylinder (music work with restorations), now lacking trip repeat, the back plate engraved with foliate scrolls around a cartouche signed Step.n Rimbault/Gt St Andrews Street/Seven Dials/London; winding key
    48 cm. high, handle down

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    Richard C.R. Barder, The Georgian Bracket Clock 1714-1830, Woodbridge, 1993, p.97, pl.IV/17 and pp.59-61, pls.II/41-43.
    H.M. Vehmeyer, Clocks, Their Origin and Development 1320-1880, Vol.II, Gent, 2004, pp.670-671.
    John Stephen Rimbault is recorded in Great St Andrews Street, London between 1744-1785. He appears to have specialised in musical and automaton clocks. The painted scene on the present clock may be attributable to the artist John (Johann) Zoffany, whom Rimbault employed after his arrival in England in 1761 as a decorative assistant to paint dials and automaton figures. A portrait of Rimbault pleased the clockmaker so much that he introduced Zoffany to the portrait painter Wilson, who employed him at £40 to fill in draperies. His talent was subsequenty recognized by David Garrick, for whom he painted pictures of actors on stage.

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