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Clock

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1880 (designed)
    ca. 1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Day, Lewis Foreman, born 1845 - died 1910 (designer)
    Howell James & Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ebonised birch wood case, with porcelain face

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.662-1972

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 125e, case 4

  • Download image

Object Type
This small clock was designed for fashionable homes of the late 19th century. The relatively crude carving of the case may mean it was an inexpensive clock, even though the lettering on the dial suggests the maker, Howell James & Co., supplied clocks to Queen Victoria.

Time
Japan was closed to most outsiders from 1639 to the 1850s, when direct trading with Europe was resumed. Displays of Japanese objects at International Fairs in London in 1862 and Paris in 1867 caused great excitement, and by the 1880s all things Japanese were the height of fashion. This influence is apparent in the decoration of the clock, although in fact it bears little resemblance to authentic Japanese design.

People
The clock's designer, Lewis F. Day (1845-1910), had a strong relationship with this Museum and the art school attached to it. He is best known for his ceramics and wallpapers, and for his writings on the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Subjects Depicted
Sunflowers, shown on the porcelain dial of the clock, were popular in Aesthetic Movement decoration. Lampooning the style, Edward Linley-Sambourne depicted the poet, playwright and aesthete Oscar Wilde as a sunflower in a Punch magazine cartoon in 1881.

Physical description

Clock, ebonised birch wood case, with porcelain face, fretwork decoration with flowers on its face

Place of Origin

London, England (made)

Date

ca. 1880 (designed)
ca. 1880 (made)

Artist/maker

Day, Lewis Foreman, born 1845 - died 1910 (designer)
Howell James & Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Ebonised birch wood case, with porcelain face

Dimensions

Height: 36.2 cm, Width: 24.1 cm, Depth: 13.5 cm

Object history note

Designed by Lewis F. Day (born in London, 1845, died there in 1910); made by Howell James & Co., London

"Day was a teacher and prolific designer within the South Kensington network, whose books frequently included Japanese examples. The ebonised case of this clock, with its fretwork decoration, and the flowers on its face have little to do with real Japanese decoration but would instantly have suggested the Japanese taste to Day’s contemporaries." Ornament Gallery text.

Descriptive line

Sunflower dial clock, ebonised wood case and porcelain face, designed by Lewis F.Day, and made by Howell James & Co of London, England, about 1880

Labels and date

CLOCK
English; about 1880
Ebonised wood case and porcelain face;
designed by Lewis F. Day (1845-1910) and made by Howell James & Co of London

Day was a teacher and prolific designer with the South Kensington network, whose books frequently included Japanese examples. The ebonised case of this clock, and the flowers on its face have little to do with real Japanese decoration but would instantly have suggested the Japanese taste to Day's contemporaries.

CFirc. 662-1972 [1999]
British Galleries:
This clock combines Japanese-inspired ebonised wood and Chinese-inspired blue and white porcelain with the characteristic Aesthetic sunflower motif. It shows the extent to which the Aesthetic style was adopted for everday objects by commercially popular and versatile designers such as Lewis F. Day. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted

Floral patterns; Sunflowers; Numbers; Japonaiserie; Fretwork

Categories

Porcelain; British Galleries; Clocks & Watches

Collection code

FWK

Download image
Qr_O60610
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