• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2608

    Magnificent Clocks for the Imperial Chinese Court from the Nezu Museum

    27 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1512

    AN ENGLISH SMALL CHASED ORMOLU AND PASTE-SET QUARTER-STRIKING, MUSICAL AND AUTOMATON TABLE CLOCK

    Price Realised  

    AN ENGLISH SMALL CHASED ORMOLU AND PASTE-SET QUARTER-STRIKING, MUSICAL AND AUTOMATON TABLE CLOCK
    JOHN MOTTRAM, LONDON. GEORGE III PERIOD (1760-1820), LATE 18TH CENTURY
    CASE: on a stepped square platform raised on four splayed feet terminating in balls, all sides of the plinth applied with foliate scroll and flowerhead mounts flanking flowerhead bosses, an openwork balustrade above intersected at intervals by ball-topped tapering columns, all main panels bordered by beaded galleries, the sides centred by silk-backed openwork foliate cast sound frets, each angle with a projecting feathered scroll mount, the rear door pierced with silk-backed circlets and with oval lattice-work sound frets, the five-stepped top with four further pierced balustrades and surmounted by a twin-handled vase supporting a paste-set whirligig

    DIAL: with beaded mount (probably later) to the bezel and convex glass to white enamel Roman and Arabic dial, pierced ormolu hands and blued steel seconds hand, adjusted by a replaced paste-set knob below the dial

    AUTOMATON: hourly, or via button pulled to the right side of the case, the paste-set whirligig above the urn revolves; while music plays

    MOVEMENT: with rectangular plates, triple chain and fusees with dead beat escapement, quarter-striking with two hammers on two bells to the rear of a nest of eleven bells, the music playing via pinned barrel on the same eleven bells with eighteen hammers, playing one of four tunes selected by a square on the back plate, the back plate with engraved border and with holdfast for the brass-rod pendulum, signed Jn. Mottram/LONDON

    26½ in. (66.5 cm.) high x 9¾ in. (24.5 cm.) wide x 9¾ in. (24.5 cm.) deep


    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

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    Arthur W J G Ord-Hume, The Musical Clock, Musical and Automaton Clocks and Watches, Mayfield, 1995

    John Mottram (active 1780-1811) had premises in Warden Court, Clerkenwell Close, London. He was one of a number of English makers who made fine quality musical automaton clocks for the Eastern market. According to Ord-Hume (p.313), his work is often confused with that of James Cox and it is assumed that he worked for or with Cox on some projects Similar 'feathered' angle mounts may be seen on a clock by Mottram sold Sotheby's London, Important Clocks, Watches, Barometers and Mechanical Musical Instruments, 12 December 2001, lot 76.