Wall Clock (pendule d'alcove)

Object Details

Title:

Wall Clock (pendule d'alcove)

Artist/Maker:

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

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris France England (Place created)

Date:

about 1710

Medium:

Gilt bronze; blue-painted horn; enameled metal

Dimensions:

71.1 × 28.6 × 11.4 cm (28 × 11 1/4 × 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.

Provenance
- 1919

Charles William Mills, second baron Hillingdon, British, 1855 - 1919 (Vernon House, London, England), by inheritance to Arthur, third baron Hillingdon.

1919 - 1952

Arthur Robert Mills, third baron Hillingdon, British, 1891 - 1952, by inheritance to Charles, fourth baron Hillingdon.

1952 - 1972

Charles Hedworth Mills, fourth baron Hillingdon, British, 1922 - 1978 [sold, Christie's, London, June 29, 1972, lot 56]

1972 - 1973

French and Company, Inc. (New York City, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.

Exhibitions
Louis XIV at the Getty (June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016
Bibliography

Miller, Carole Ann Lyons. "Clockwise Special Report: The J. Paul Getty Museum." Clockwise (August 1979), pp. 15-21, fig. 3.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 83-84, no. 129.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. European Clocks in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), pp. 10-13, no. 2.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 66-67, no. 130.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), p. 369, app. no. 5.

Baarsen, Reinier. Paris 1650-1900: Decorative Arts in the Rijksmuseum (New Haven: Yale University Press, with Rijksmuseum, 2013), p. 385, fig. 92.1.