Mantel and Table Clocks

Musical half hour striking portico clock with automaton

    Musical half hour striking portico clock with automaton

    France, Paris

    The 1850s

    Robert-Houdin Jean Eugene, Japy Freres & Cie

    Wood, steel, brass, glass, enamel, fabric; mechanical works, casting, sewing, gilding

    68 x 38 x 29 cm


    Portico clock is mounted on wooden ornately shaped base, painted imitating hard-rubber wood, on four chiselled supports, with top panel of red velvet. The portico clock is mounted on rectangular socle of polished gilded metal between four fluted columns with Corinthian capitals. The clock dial is in solid bezel with embossed ornament, with radial Roman numerals for hours’ designation, minutes’ divisions on the external ring, two hands in the form of blued steel trefoils, and two pins for winding the clock and strike.

    Automaton - horizontal bar between fluted columns with phials on the capitals, figure of a gymnast and figures of musicians with trombone and trumpet in bright blue, red, light blue and white clothes with goldish trim is above, on U-shaped platform with prominent moulding next to the column.

    Musical movement and mechanism controlling the automaton are mounted in the stand; winding hole for the automaton mechanism winding and retractable lever for its activating are on right lateral side. The second lever is for the musical movement winding. The clock mechanism is pendulum, on silk suspension, with lever escapement, eight-day period winding, two spring motors, hour and half hour chime with indicator on counting wheel. Embossed onlay with two blued steel screws and translucent red stone is on the polished pendulum lens. Ornately shaped onlay with the height adjustment unit is on the pendulum rod. When the mechanisms are activated, the melody sounds, the gymnast rises above the horizontal bar to the waist, stops, then descends and makes rotational movements around the horizontal bar, at the same time, the musicians raise their hands with the instruments and bring them to their lips, turning their heads, and then all movements are repeated. Two winding keys are in the set.