Derek Roberts, Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clocks, Atglen, 1999
The present clock is the pair to one which was reputedly made for Lord Macartney for presentation by him to Emperor Qianlong in 1793. The 'Macartney' clock was later transferred to the Winter Palace in 1917, and sold in May 1923 for Frs. 40,000, and subsequently sold at Christie's Geneva, Fine Clocks and Watches, 13 May 1981, lot 32 and again at Christie's London, Important Clocks, 6 July 2001, lot 39. See also Roberts p.187, fig.15-26.
This clock may therefore have been part of a group of clocks presented to Emperor Qianlong by Lord Macartney (1737-1806) on the occasion of his first mission to China in 1793.
Henry Borrell was a clock and watchmaker with London addresses at Aldersgate Buildings in 1795 and Wilderness Row 1795-1840. Borrell was one of a number of English clockmakers towards the end of the 18th century whose work was strongly connected to the Export market. Frequently this was the lucrative Turkish market and many clocks and watches with 'Turkish' dials made by Borrell are known, such as an example sold at Christie's London, 13 December 2000, lot 83.
The present clock differs from the clock sold in 2001 only in its automaton cresting, which has a different support and which does not have a catherine-wheel to the reverse; it has therefore presumably been altered. Interestingly, a clock by Borrell of related outline but less elaborate decoration in the Palace Museum Collection, Beijing. The Beijing example has an engraved ormolu case and lacks an automaton cresting but has a comparable shuttered automaton scene. See also Roberts p.188, fig.15-27.
For another clock by Henry Borrell see lot 1515.