Wall Clock (pendule d'alcove)

Object Details


Wall Clock (pendule d'alcove)


Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (French, 1642 - 1732, master before 1666)




Paris France England (Place created)


about 1710


Gilt bronze; blue-painted horn; enameled metal


71.1 x 28.6 x 11.4 cm (28 x 11 1/4 x 4 1/2 in.)

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Strings once hung down from the clock through the two holes pierced on each side of this lyre-shaped wall clock. When pulled, they activated a chime that enabled the owner to hear the time in the middle of the night or in a darkened room. Known as a pendule d'alcove, this clock would have hung in an alcove above a bed. Appropriately enough for a timepiece, the lyre shape is associated with Apollo, god of the sun.

A complex clock such as this one was a collaborative effort on the part of numerous craftsmen, probably in André-Charles Boulle's workshop. The clockmaker, who produced only the movements, would have commissioned a sculptor to design the model, a bronze caster to produce the bronze mounts, and a gilder to chase and gild them. Then an enameler would paint and fire the enamel numbers, each of which was inserted individually.