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Clock

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (Clock case, Made)
    Caen (Clock movement, made)

  • Date:

    1710 - 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Salles, Jacques (made)
    Salles, Michel

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak case veneered with sheet brass inlaid with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and coloured, horn, with gilt brass mounts, a brass dial plate inset with enamel plaques and blue steel hands

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs R.S. Warburton

  • Museum number:

    M.265:1 to 3-1923

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 5, The Friends of the V&A Gallery, case CA4 []

The fashion for boulle marquetry on clock cases extended well into the eighteenth century and the clock movement in this clock is consistent with an eighteenth century date. The ornate case would have been ordered from Paris by Salles, the Caen clockmaker who signed the movement. Two clockmakers named Salles were recorded as working in Caen in the 1750s, although by then the clock would have been rather old-fashioned in form.

Physical description

A spring-driven clock, in a case of oak, veneered with sheet brass inlaid with brightly-coloured flowers and foliage in tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and coloured horn. The case is ornamented with gilt brass mounts representing the themes of Time and Love. Below the dial is a figural group with Venus clasping Cupid's bow, and at the four corner edges, draped female figures. Inward-scrolling leaves rise towards a female mask at the centre of the cresting. Behind this rises a removable pediment, in part formed by a pierced, ribbed dome of brass surmounted by a finial mount in the form of a winged figure of Time seated on a globe. The case is set at its lower corners with four further female masks and stands on four scrolling brass feet.

The inside surface of the door at the back of the case is decorated with a panel of inlaid brass in the same materials as the clock case, depicting Bacchus astride a barrel holidng a glass of wine and a pouch, surrounded by leafy scrollwork, grape vines and masks.

The movement has a verge escapement. The pendulum and silk suspension are missing. The brass dial plate is set with enamelled plaques with a white ground, showing the hours in blue Roman numerals with the minutes in black Arabic numerals in smaller plaques around the edge, and has hour and minute hands of pierced blue steel.

Place of Origin

Paris (Clock case, Made)
Caen (Clock movement, made)

Date

1710 - 1750 (made)

Artist/maker

Salles, Jacques (made)
Salles, Michel

Materials and Techniques

Oak case veneered with sheet brass inlaid with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and coloured, horn, with gilt brass mounts, a brass dial plate inset with enamel plaques and blue steel hands

Marks and inscriptions

Bimol [or Binol, or Burol, or Jurot] aout 1743 [or 1745]
Signature scratched faintly on two springs. This indicates the date on which the springs were made, and could date the movement of the clock, unless the springs were kept in stock for later use.

Dimensions

Height: 117 cm, Width: 50 cm, Depth: 25 cm

Object history note

The clock movement is marked by Salles of Caen, north-west France, and is consistent with an eighteenth-century date. Two clockmakers of this name, Jacques Salles and Michel Salles, are recorded as working in Caen in the 1750s. The clock case was almost certainly made in Paris. The maker of the is unknown but the boulle decoration is similar to clocks made in about 1710.

The clock was bought from a resident in Caen by Sir William Leeson for 300 francs

Descriptive line

Clock, France 1710-1750, veneered with brass inlaid with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and pigmented horn, gilt brass mounts, signed `Salles a Caen', 19th century restoration.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

pp. 61-67
Umney

Labels and date

Clock
Probably 1710-50
France
Case: Paris

Movement: Caen, possibly by Jacques or Michel Salles
Oak veneered with brass; marquetry in turtle shell, mother-of-pearl and coloured horn; gilded copper alloy mounts
The mounts with figures of Time, Venus and Cupid
Bequeathed by Mrs R.S. Warburton [2015]

Materials

Oak; Mother-of-pearl; Horn; Gilt brass; Enamel

Techniques

Boulle marquetry

Categories

Clocks & Watches

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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