A very fine and large antique bronze, ormolu and polished copper on bronze rocking ship automaton clock,
From the First Golden Age of automata
Our Mariner's spectacular...
Timepiece movement No. 712, eight day duration, with silk suspension, striking on a bell hours and half hours,
Rocking ship movement No. 169, four pillars, four/five hour duration,
When tiny winding spindle hole plug removed at front for key access and start/stop bar to right-underside actuated, the delicate sailing ship upon choppy sea bobs and rocks most realistically, as time passes by below.
The ship with part tinplate hull, wooden deck, masts and minute metal cannons, in white, red, yellow and black livery, at full sail, on highlighted ocean of fine paper, inset to the slight green patinated bronze frame with stone block detail, shore and rock clusters, accompanied with appliqués of rich ormolu casts of seaweed and shells, in the shadow of a lighthouse.
Upon main clock case superstructure of shaped profile with swept front and sides. Inset timepiece dial in silvered bronze with very fine wave-line engine turning, blued hands, black Roman numerals and open chapter ring. Surrounding bezel as a colossal ribbon-bound wreath and flanked at the corners with a pair of the most fantastic sea monsters with scales, fins, eyes, lips and lots of teeth, plinth with continuous sweeping leaf and shell ormolu relief, all on the highly polished copper-rich metal body of warm colour.
Rod-affixed to the superb rounded rosewood veneered base with fine inlaid frieze to the front of central shell flanked by a pair of fishing nymphs about to catch a large fish monster each.
Size - 22.1/2in. high, width max 18in. wide, the depth 9.1/2in. - (57 x 46 x 24cm)
The rocking ship movement has to be one of the most substantial and intricate we have seen.
With the ship wandering back and forth as well as up and down, one would expect to see the type of drive usually designed for these automatons. Here, the very large spring barrel runs for several hours. The escapement runs through six stages of train and the movement, instead of a single reciprocating cam off the first train, comprises two wheels from second and third train, each with fully adjustable off-centre spindle terminals for a variety of positions selectable for ship rock. We have set it to rock at sea at its roughest position - for the full effect.
The little plug which covers up the winding hole is genius. It totally hides the hole and the fit is such that it feels like a jar stopper on a decanter. How this incredibly rare and small element has remained with this clock is a mystery.
The use of copper, such a warm colour, blends unexpectedly well with the bright and rich hue of the ormolu - seen here of course after a good clean, never re-gilded.
This timepiece is not the rocking ship you usually see. This is at a level of refinement much higher. For even behind the scenes, the best has been used.
A true Mariner's dream...