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To be executed in gilt and patinated bronze;enamel dial

The cylindrical inkstand with trellis engraved band, the cover with a suppliant, kneeling Cupid; The clock Inkstand with the dial centring the sunflower on naturalistic leafy stem, standing in a basket-weave pot with trellis gallery, a snake coiling up the flower's stem 11in. High

The sunflower is a clear allusion to Apollo, the sun god, and thus makes reference to the Bourbon cult of the Sun King in the person of Louis XIV. Additionally, the property of a sunflower always to turn to the Sun, alludes to the deference owed to a sovereign, as in the self-portrait of van Dyck with a sunflower, indicating the artist's homage to his patron, king Charles II of England.

A related Cupid Inkstand, with a helmet and sword topped cylinder and an identical kneeling amorino, was sold at Christie's London, December 8, 1988, lot 2. An executed example of this distinctive sunflower Inkstand design and of the same height was sold at Christie's New York, May 21, 1997, lot 505; another, taller example (but a clock only) was lot 509 in the same sale. Further examples, also taller and each a clock only, have been sold at Christie's Rome, October 18, 1979; from the collection of Mrs Robert Tritton, Godmersham Park, Kent, England, Christie's House sale, June 6-9, 1983, lot 183; and the collection of Countess Donina Cicogna-Mozzoni, Christie's New York, March 30, 1995, lot 95. Another is in the Antalva Collection, Madrid, Spain, (see Tardy, III, 52). The taste for utilizing the motif of a pot-grown sunflower in connection with timepieces was also current in early nineteenth century Germany: see the cast iron watch stand in Schmuttermeier, #115


Watercolour, gouache and pen and ink, on laid paper


33.00cm wide   50.80cm high (12.99 inches wide  20.00 inches high)