Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Precious Time: A Parian Figural Clock, 1787

Figural Clock on Pedestal
Marble, Parian, Gilt Bronze, Tulipwood, Mahogany,
Satinwood, 1787
Brownley, Vuilliamy & Son, John Deare
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Until the advent of the electric clock, one of the most valuable and important objects in any home was its clock. Clocks took opulent forms and became the centerpieces of the most important rooms in the house.

Because of the importance of the timepiece, great care was taken in the creation of each clockcase. This magnificent clock from 1787 with works by Vuilliamy & Son sits upon an inlaid pedestal designed by Thomas Brownley and is surmounted by Parian figures of Venus and Cupid which were created by John Deare. The inlaid medallion on the pedestal depicts a scene of Apollo surrounded by the signs of the zodiac.

During this time period, objects with a stylistic nod to the French Classical style were highly coveted in England. This timepiece enjoyed a long life in an upper-class London townhouse before being donated to the V&A.

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