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Long-Case Musical Clock
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Clock case attributed to Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt, designer; possibly after designs by Gilles-Marie Oppenord, designer
French, Paris, about 1712
Oak and walnut veneered with brass and tortoiseshell; enameled metal; gilt bronze mounts; glass
8 ft. 9 in. x 3 ft. 5 in. x 1 ft. 3 1/2 in.
72.DB.40

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Through both the decoration and mechanism, this clock and its lavishly ornamented case illustrate the latest scientific discoveries at the beginning of the 1700s. The four continents known at this time--Africa, Europe, Asia, and America--adorn the corners of the case. The area below the dial is fitted with a brass grille engraved with geometric designs and allegorical symbols corresponding to five of the seven planets known at the beginning of the 1700s: Saturn (Time), Mars (War), Mercury, Venus (Love), and Jupiter.

The clock and pedestal were originally separate pieces. At some point, Gilles-Marie Oppenord transformed them from a clock on a pedestal (probably made by his father, Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt) to a long-case clock, which kept time more accurately. Craftsmen placed the pendulum and weights of the later movement into a pedestal base and cut an opening into the front to show the pendulum's swing. They then added additional bronze mounts to mask the alterations and to further decorate the piece.

Jean-François Dominicé created the clock's movement. Michel Stollenwerck created the musical movement.

Detail Views

Clock movement
Clock movement

Striking train
Striking train

Asia
Asia

The Americas
The Americas

Europe
Europe