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 × 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.

- 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.

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

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.