A CHELSEA PORCELAIN GILT-METAL MOUNTED STRIKING MUSICAL TABLE-CLOCK
A CHELSEA PORCELAIN GILT-METAL MOUNTED STRIKING MUSICAL TABLE-CLOCK
1 More
A CHELSEA PORCELAIN GILT-METAL MOUNTED STRIKING MUSICAL TABLE-CLOCK

CIRCA 1756-58

Details
A CHELSEA PORCELAIN GILT-METAL MOUNTED STRIKING MUSICAL TABLE-CLOCK
CIRCA 1756-58
With contemporary pierced blued steel hands and a replacement card dial signed Rimbault / London, with elaborate pierced sides and scroll feet, the domed top surmounted by allegorical figures of Time discovering Truth, the reverse with a square aperture with a gilt-metal frame cast with scroll ornament with a hinged glazed door, the triple chain fusees movement with six ringed pillars, verge escapement and foliate engraved back plate, rack strike on rear-mounted bells, playing a selection of seven tunes on 10 bells via 21 hammers and 11 cm. long pinned cylinder, the tune selection cam signed Stpn: Rimbault London
20¾ in. (52.8 cm.) high
Provenance
Possibly a ducal gift from the House of Alba to King Carlos III of Spain, circa 1768.
Acquired by Señor Patricio Bartolomé Flores Calderón (1814–1871) in circa 1855,
His son, Professor Manuel Bartolomé Cossío (b. 1857 in Haro, La Rioja, Spain and d. 1935, in Collado Mediano, Madrid),
His daughter, Señora Natalia Cossio de Jiménez, of San Fiz, La Coruna (1894–1979),
And thence by descent to the present owners.
Literature
Dr. Bellamy Gardner, 'Chelsea Porcelain Clocks', The Connoisseur, Christmas, 1935, p. 314, figs. 5 and 6.
Sale room notice
Please note Christie's do not guarantee the working condition, duration or timekeeping of clocks offered for sale.

Brought to you by

Toby Woolley
Toby Woolley

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

This clock came into the possession of the family of the current owners after being seen by Patricio Bartolomé Flores Calderón whilst travelling in the northern province of Soria, in Spain, in around 1855. He discovered it in the house of a priest, who had removed the group surmounting the clock and the four corner elements on account of their partial nudity. The clock was purchased on the condition that the group should be included, however the four figures from the corners were never recovered. Family legend of how the clock came to be in Spain tells of a possible ducal gift from the House of Alba (the Dukes of Alba had direct ties to the Dukes of Berwick) to Carlos III in around 1768. There it was said to have remained in the royal collection until the turbulent times of the Peninsular War when, possibly in order to protect the clock from French troops, it was given to a priest. If this story is to be believed, the clock came into the Spanish Royal collection at about the time that Carlos III founded his porcelain manufactory at Buen Retiro. This supposed provenance is tempting when one compares the present example to clocks of similar form made at Buen Retiro, see Carmen Manueco Santurtún et al., Manufacturia Del Buen Retiro 1760-1808 Exhibition Catalogue, Madrid, 1999, pp. 278-279, no. 85, and the example sold by Sotheby's on 21 May 1957, lot 39.

John Stephen Rimbault is recorded in Great St Andrews Street, London (1744-1785) and appears to have specialised in musical and automaton clocks. The movement of the present clock is unusually small for a musical clock and was specially designed or adapted to fit the Chelsea porcelain case. The layout of the music train is also unusual, being inverted and having the pinwheel, hammer work and nest of bells positioned across the back plate instead of above the plates, as is more usual. This was clearly necessary as there is insufficient space in the top of the case.
;

Related Articles

View all
The A-Z of furniture: Terminol auction at Christies
Collecting guide: Jean Dunand auction at Christies
A symbol of individual resista auction at Christies

More from The English Collector: English Furniture, Clocks, European Ceramics & Portrait Miniatures

View All
View All