This fashionable watch was made in the workshop of John Ellicott, a member of one of the great watchmaking families of 18th-century London.
It has three cases. The outer case is of gold, gilded metal and green shagreen, decorated with gold studs. This provides protection for the chased gold middle case.
London, about 1753
Made by John Ellicott
Outer case chased by G.M. Moser
Gold, gilded metal and shagreen
V&A: M.63 to B-1954
At the time this portrait was painted, George Michael Moser (1706-83) was already established as a leading chaser.
Born in Switzerland, he arrived in London in 1726. He married Mary Guynier in 1730 and worked for the gold chaser John Valentine Haidt, in whose house he organised a drawing class. Moser also became a key figure in the St Martins Lane Academy, a drawing school run by artists from which the Royal Academy evolved.
By Carl Marcus Tuscher
Oil on canvas
The Geffrye Museum, London
In 1768 Moser was elected the first Keeper of the Royal Academy, and in Zoffanys portrait of the Academicians he is shown adjusting the model. Sir Joshua Reynolds, holding a hearing trumpet, is to the left. On Mosers death in 1783, Reynolds described Moser as the Father of the present race of artists who possessed a universal knowledge in all the branches of painting and sculpture, which perfectly qualified him for the place that he held.
Mezzotint by Richard Earlom after Johann Zoffany, published in 1773
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Although the cartouches or frames around most scenes on watchcases at this date are asymmetric, Mosers preference was for a sinuous, but symmetric cartouche, like the one shown around this classical marriage scene. The goddess Juno and her peacock are to the right.