Pocket Watches

Musical and quarter-repeating, centerseconds pocket watch

    Musical and quarter-repeating, centerseconds pocket watch


    Circa 1825

    Le Roy

    Gold, enamel, glass, metal alloys, pearls; painted enamel, champlevé, enamel over engraving

    5.7 in diameter
    0.8 cm thick

    Inscription on the dial: "LEROY".
    The case's lid is marked, "7506".
    The cuvette is marked, "2115"


    Mechanical pocket watch in round gold case decorated with varicoloured enamel, with two lids, the repeater lever in the shape of a hub with a ring ornamented with enamel and pearls. The case’s lidr edged with geometrical enamel ornament with pearl inlays is decorated with a painted miniature illustrating a poem called “Autumn” from a poetic cycle “Seasons” by James Thomson (1726-1730) depicting this poem’s protagonists – Palaemon and Lavinia. The cuvette is decorated with a lush floral ornament of blue, dark blue and black enamel, with the images of harps and pipes and watch hands pointing to the winding key holes.

    The dial is white enamel; hours' scale numerals are black, hands (minutes and hours) are in gold and blued steel (seconds). The dial has three scales: seconds' - divided with dots; minutes' - divided into 60 units with Arabic numerals; and hours' - divided into 12 units with Roman numerals. The bezel is decorated with a geometric enamel ornament with onlay pearls.

    The movement with a balance spring, cylinder escapement, spring-powered, a quarter repeater on two gongs, with a separate barrel drum for the music movement and a comb with 20 steel teeth (reeds). The tune is played on the hour or at the choice of the owner by triggering the sliding  lever located on the case, opposite numeral VI. The watch is winded with a key, which is also used to set the hands. Winding key is decorated with an oval blue and white enamel insert.


    Intended for the Chinese market.

    James Thomson (1700-1748) was a British poet who achieved European fame with his didactic cycle of four blank verse poems, The Seasons (1726-1730), distinguished largely by the abundant, original and striking descriptions of nature through the year.

    The sudden success of Thomson's first large poem Winter (1726) led him to pen Summer (1727), and Spring (1728) which in 1730 formed a poetic cycle The Seasons that included also Autumn and Hymn to Seasons. The poem Winter depicts the rage of elements and the suffering they cause to people and animals; the most popular episodes narrated about a robin and a family who fed the bird with crumbs from their table, and about a death of a shepherd caught up in a snow storm. The verses are quite exalted.

    Summer (1727) describes a summer day with its haymaking, sheep shearing and bathing, culminating in a hymn to Britain and its "calm majesty". It has two narrative episodes, one about Celadone in love whose beloved Amelia was struck down by lightening, and the other, about Damon watching Musidora bathing.

    Spring (1728) shows the world of nature going through the change, culminating in a eulogy to wedded love.

    Autumn (1730) reproduces a lively scene of hunting and fishing, harvesting and wine-making eulogizing the pure rural joys. It has an episode of Palaemone falling in love with Lavinia who collected ears of wheat in his field based on the story about Ruth and Boaz.

    The new and expanded edition of the cycle saw the light in 1744.

    The Seasons were very popular in Europe. French and German translations and imitations made Thomson known in Russia, and it was translated into Russian in the 1780s (see English Literature Guide, Moscow 2003; Yu.D. Levin. English Literature in the 18th Century Russia [in Russian] // History of Russian-British cultural ties at: http://www.russianculture.ru/brit/histbr3.htm)

    Инв. 3184.1-2PCA351/ДПИ