This delicately painted and richly mounted clock is one of a distinct group of porcelain vase-form clocks. It is interesting that a number of these clocks have foreign-made movements, suggesting that this highly ornate design was developed for the foreign market. It seems possible that the cases were made in France and exported without movements. Among the other examples of this model are:
1. Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Jones Collection) with a body of decorated Sèvres porcelain (no. 1005-1882; see O. Brackett, Catalogue of the Jones Collection, Part I, London, 1922, pl. 60, no. 259). This example has a polychrome-painted porcelain body, similar to the example offered here. The mounts have traditionally been attributed to Gouthière.
2. An example with a grey-ground porcelain body from the collection of Sir Michael Sobell sold Christie's, London, 23 June 1994, lot 12.
3. A polychrome painted example sold anonymously Christie's, London, 22 June 1989, lot 35. The dial and backplate were both signed by François-Louis Godon (maître in 1787), horloger to Charles IV of Spain, who reigned 1788-1808.
4. A polychrome floral decorated example with ram's masks as supports and with movement by Vulliamy of London was sold, Christie's, New York, 27 May 1999, lot 268.
5. The Princes Dolgourouky, St. Petersburg, in the 19th century.
6. Musée Cognac-Jay, Paris (no. 390; see: Catalogue, 1930, illustrated facing p. 140). This clock has a white porcelain body.
7. An example with matching pair of candelabra illustrated in A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto, La Toscana e l'Italia Settentrionale, Milan, 1986, vol. II, P. 397, fig. 845, the movement signed by Joseph Gay, a French clockmaker based in Turin.
JOHN PIERPONT MORGAN (1837-1913)
John Pierpont Morgan was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1837. Son of a wealthy financier, he spent time in Europe and developed a passion for art, namely paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, ivories, manuscripts, silver, glass enamels and porcelain. After becoming a hugely successful financier and industrialist in his own right, he accrued a tremendous fortune. In the final two decades of his life it is reported that he amassed a collection of artwork that was valued at the time of his death in 1913 at $50 million dollars.
Morgan was intrigued by European Royalty and culture and desired to surround himself with pieces that were directly connected to prominent figures, in particular the Kings and court of 18th Century France.
Upon his death, J.P. Morgan's art collection was dispersed between the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and the Wadsworth Atheneum. There have been many special exhibitions of Morgan's collection of 18th century European porcelain and ceramics, most recently Passion and Porcelain: Pre-Revolutionary French Ceramics from the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto in January 2004. .