With its dragon-serpent emblematic of Minerva Athena, this clock is designed in the French antique manner popularised by Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (d. 1854), 'Or Molu Manufacturer in Ordinary' and 'Furniture Man' to George, Prince of Wales, he specialised in decorative objects and ormolu, much of which was imported from the Parisian bronzier Pierre-Maximilien Delafontaine. In 1819 Vulliamy supplied the Prince with a related French ormolu dragon-and-palm clock for one of the mantelpieces at the Marine Pavilion, Brighton (C. Jagger, Royal Clocks, London, 1983, p. 159).
The taste for such jewelled-ormolu furnishings had been popularised during George III's reign, and was an important feature of the clock-and-automaton museums shops of London. One such automaton, executed in the manner of James Cox and embellished with elephants and rhinoceros, was surmounted by a watch and dressing-mirror with a guilloche-ribboned and jewelled frame corresponding directly with this dragon clock (R. Garnier, 'Timepieces for China', Country Life, 11 June 1992, p. 127, fig. 5). Similar ornament also appeared on an automaton from the Ilbert Collection, sold in these Rooms, 6-7 November 1958, lot 62.
This fashion for jewelled ormolu during the 1820s was also serviced by Messrs. Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, the Royal Goldsmiths, who featured this Roman pedestal pattern on some of their contemporary ormolu statues, such as that depicting George IV and sold by the Trustees of the Conyngham Settlement in these Rooms, 19 November 1992, lot 114. A bronze dragon inkstand of related character was manufactured in 1816 for George, Prince of Wales by T. Dudley of King Street (C. Fox, London - World City, 1992, no. 303).
The later Victorian movement was executed by Joseph and Alfred Jump of 1a Old Bond Street, Clock and Watchmakers to Queen Victoria and direct descendants of Richard Jump (fl. 1807-25), who had been apprenticed to Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy in 1812.