Label

Elegant French furnishings adorned the Washingtons' households at New York, Philadelphia, and Mount Vernon. This expensive Louis XVI-style mantel clock, ornamented with a glittering ormolu (or gilded brass) pagoda-like finial above a pair of griffins' heads and pendulum with radiant cherub's face, is likely the "Clock/ On the Chimney" listed among their private purchases for the President's House in Philadelphia. It later kept time in the Washingtons' bedchamber at Mount Vernon, where it appears in both George and Martha Washingtons' estate inventories valued at $100.

Description

Louis XVI-style mantel clock with drum case mounted into an off-white alabaster or marble platform supported by four black columns with ormolu capitals and bases on a conforming off-white alabaster or marble base with five circular brass feet. Ormolu decoration includes a Chinoiserie or pagoda-like finial above a pair of griffins' heads and fringed draperies flanking the upper half of the clock case, and laurel branches with berries joined by a bowknot attached beneath it. Top platform with small alabaster or marble urns topped with clusters of ormolu fruits or berries at its ends and several small chains with pendent ormolu bells and tassels suspended across its front. Base with ogee-shaped top edge and inset ormolu panels. Both platform and base have astragal-patterned galleries or balustrades and a variety of bandings applied along their edges.

White-enameled dial is painted with black Arabic numerals for hours and five-minute intervals (with gilt dots between the numbers), and is signed near bottom (in pink): "Bruel/ A PARIS". Elliptic-shaped ormolu hands with fleur-de-lis tips.

Movement with ormolu pendulum featuring cast radiant Apollo or cherub's head against a burst of rays. Glazed front and back doors to case.

Date

1788-1797


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Stone, ebonized wood, ormolu, porcelain, enamel, gilt, brass, steel


Dimensions

Overall: 19 7/8 in. x 13 1/4 in. x 3 3/4 in. (50.48 cm x 33.66 cm x 9.53 cm)

33.7 cm50.5 cm9.5 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball


Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. George W. Woodward, Vice Regent for Kentucky, 1890


Marks

Painted near bottom on dial (in pink): "Bruel/ A PARIS". Engraved on the spring in the strike train barrel: "Nouginot, Juin 88".


Object Number

W-11


Colors (Beta)


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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