Model for a Mantel Clock
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French, Paris, 1700 - 1715
Terracotta; enameled metal plaques
H: 2 ft. 7 in. x W: 1 ft. 8 1/2 in. x D: 9 1/2 in.

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A craftsman would have made this full-sized model of clay and pressed in the number plaques, then shown it to a client for approval before creating the working clock in wood, brass, and gilt bronze. Very few French eighteenth-century furniture models exist today; they are all small in scale and made of wax, wood, and painted paper. These other models were nearly all made for royal commissions in the second half of the 1700s, particularly for the French Queen, Marie-Antoinette.

This object is the earliest full-size model known to exist and may well have been made for the approval of Louis XIV. Beneath the clock dial, Pluto abducts Proserpine in a chariot drawn by four horses, which caused the onset of winter in Greek mythology. Although a suitable theme for changing seasons and telling time, no other known clock bears such a representation.

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