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.

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