From sturdy grandfather clocks to delicate pocket watches, clocks reflect a vast range of artistic styles and a wealth of artistic achievement. In our upcoming European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on July 19th, we have the pleasure of offering a unique collection of Viennese table clocks. Produced during the late 19th century, these clocks epitomize the vibrancy of decorative art production at this time. The elaborate details of each clock, from figural finials to hairy lion paw feet, make the viewer imagine that the clocks are quite sizable, when in fact most are less than 8 inches tall. Their diminutive size makes the craftsmanship and design all the more appealing.
Each table clock features a variety of materials, predominantly gemstones, hard-stones, silver, and enamel, resulting in a colorful, vibrant aesthetic. From lapis lazuli columns to gem-encrusted dogs, every available surface of these small clocks is meticulously adorned. Lot 170, for example, has a gem-encrusted clock face above enameled columns where two children are mounted to a lapis lazuli base; one child even has a gem- and pearl-mounted floral basket.
Not only do these small clocks emphasize the breadth of material available to artisans in the late 19th century, the subjects of these clocks also span a number of genres. Many draw inspiration from architectural forms, for example lots 159 and 160 which resemble towers. Others seem to favor the exotic, as camels support gem-encrusted clock faces in lots 174 and 175. Some draw on the classics for inspiration, for example lots 163 and 168 which depict Atlas. Other interesting subjects include Shakespeare flanked by figural representations of Comedy and Tragedy (lot 179), a Viking leading a hound (lot 184), and a particularly dapper rooster (lot 173). These Viennese table clocks offer something to fit every taste.
We hope you are able to see this beautiful collection first hand during our auction previews on Thursday, July 17th at 12-5pm, and Friday, July 18th at 12-8pm, located at the Boston gallery.