Sensing Time: a royal mantel clock

A Royal mantel clock, Eileen Budd, 2016, London | Eileen Budd

A royal mantel clock, Eileen Budd, 2016, London | Eileen Budd

Over the last weeks the forthcoming conference Sensing Time on 18 June 2016 has been the subject of several blogs in our series.

Places for the event are still available (download the programme here). Please do call the V&A booking office on 020 7942 2211 to secure your place at the special blog offer of £15.

Online booking for this conference is not available at present.

Royal Mantel Clock, Charles Clay, 1736, London, museum no. M.1-2016 | The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Royal mantel clock, Charles Clay, 1736, London, museum no. M.1-2016 | The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Today V&A Deputy Keeper Tessa Murdoch introduces the most recent of the V&A’s clock acquisitions, this royal mantel clock. She recognized the masterpiece from the description in the original bill in the Duchy of Cornwall archives:

“In August 1736, an ormolu-cased mantel clock was delivered to Carlton House, St James’s, for the enjoyment of Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales and his bride, Princess Augusta.

Its French case, dominated by an eagle perched above a sinister-looking dragon, frames an exquisitely painted dial with the signs of the zodiac. The dial is centred with a gold sun mask with a long hand pointing to the average hour of sunrise for each month of the year. Sunflowers and convolvulus which open their petals in sunshine are clustered round the dial.

Eagle and dragon on top of the newly acquired royal mantel clock, Charles Clay, 1736, London, museum no. M.1-2016 | The Victoria and Albert Museum, London Gilt-brass, enamel, cast, chased, pierced, enamelled

Eagle and dragon on top of the newly acquired royal mantel clock | The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 

Dial with zodiac and sun mask of the royal mantel clock, Charles Clay, 1736, London, museum no. M.1-2016 | The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Evidently a treasured possession, when the couple moved to their larger rented accommodation in St James’s Square, Norfolk House, they paid the cabinet maker Benjamin Goodison on 3rd June 1741 to

‘fixt up a Clock & pedestal & a pair of Bracketts to a Chmney Glass & a large piece glass from below Stairs’

The clock was also treasured by Prince Frederick’s grandson, the Duke of Sussex and sold at Christie’s after his death in 1843. It remained in a private collection until sold at auction in 2014 and offered for sale at Masterpiece, London, 2015.

It was acquired by the V&A with contributions from the Art Fund, the Gilbert Trust and the Gilbert Public Arts Foundation, and the Hugh Phillips Bequest and can be seen in the Whiteley Silver Galleries.”

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