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To be executed in gilt bronze; enamel dial; black marble platform

A figure of a shepherd boy, playing a flute while seated on a plinth against which he has rested his staff and fronted by the clock dial, his dog and syrinx to either side; the frieze decorated with a flower wreath and anthemion motifs; on ball feet 13in. high

The presence here of a syrinx (panpipes) and shepherd's staff indicates the theme of this clock as Orpheus's love for Eurydice, one of the greatest tales of love and faithfulness in the Ancient canon. Orpheus, a Thracian poet famed for his musical skill, is shown with a laurel crown, won on account of his playing; indeed it was so good that he charmed the beasts and even the trees and rocks around him. On the death of his great love, Eurydice, who was killed stepping on a snake, Orpheus journeyed to Hades, the kingdom of the Underworld, and by the charm of his music persuaded Pluto, god of Hades, to let him take Eurydice back to earth, on the condition that he did not look at her until they had arrived in the Upper World. This he resisted until the very last moment, turning to see her cry out as she vanished forever. Despite such an ending the purpose of the portrayal in this clock is to celebrate Orpheus' undying faithfulness to Eurydice, as personified by the faithful dog by his side, making it a suitable clock for a boudoir.

A realized, nearly identical, clock but with a different frieze and the staff replaced by a later, second, syrinx, is illustrated in Nieheser, 176, fig. 283, with an alternative identification as an allegory of Daphnis and Chloe.


Watercolour, gouache and pen and ink, on laid paper


33.00cm wide   50.40cm high (12.99 inches wide  19.84 inches high)