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To be executed in gilt bronze; enamel dial

The poet as the personification of the Muse Erato playing a lyre while perched on a plinth seat fronted by the clock, attended by Cupid, the frieze with a scene from the life of Sappho. 18in. high

Sappho was an early Greek poetess of legendry genius and fame, of whose work unfortunately little survives, but sufficient to substantiate her great reputation as a writer of love poetry. This design depicts her, in the guise of Erato, inspired by Cupid, the lyre alluding to her poetic gifts.

A clock of exactly this design was acquired by the Garde-Meuble of France on May 17, 1821, from the clockmaker Rieusec and placed in the Cabinet de Lacque of the hotel of the Ministere de la Maison du Roi, and is now displayed at the Hotel Martignon, Paris (see Dupuy-Baylet, 1997, p. 80). A clock, signed Choiselat-Gallien / Fabr. de Bronze du Garde Meuble / Le Sieur H(orloge)r - Paris, very close to this design was sold at Sotheby's London, March 3, 1978, lot 62, illustrated in Ottomeyer & Preschel, I, 379, 5.15.18. There are differences between the drawing and the executed clock: the platform for the figures is plain and the frieze relief is in a panel, flanked by allegorical trophies. A clock modelled as a related composition, in reverse, to the present design, signed Galle, Paris, illustrated in Ottomeyer & Preschel, I, 396, 5.18.8, dated to 1821, is preserved in the Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden, where it is accompanied by a pair of Mentor and Telemachus figural candelabra (related to cat. #42) also documented as supplied by Galle. Another example of that clock is in the Spanish royal collection; see Carvajal, 190, #170. The present design is a counterpart to the model Anacreon inspired by Cupid of circa 1810 by Feuchere in the Musee de l'Horologerie, Geneva, illustrated in Ottomeyer & Preschel, I, 348, 5.6.1. Another example of this model is in the Kremlin, Moscow.


Watercolour, gouache and pen and ink, on laid paper


50.80cm wide   66.70cm high (20.00 inches wide  26.26 inches high)