A Remarkable elaborately carved and inlaid automaton striking hall clock Commissioned from Tiffany & Co., New York, the case Japanese, fitted with Tiffany movement No. 759, delivered in April 1901
Lot 1086Y
A Remarkable elaborately carved and inlaid automaton striking hall clock
Commissioned from Tiffany & Co., New York, the case Japanese, fitted with Tiffany movement No. 759, delivered in April 1901
Sold for US$ 100,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
Property of various owners
A Remarkable elaborately carved and inlaid automaton striking hall clock
Commissioned from Tiffany & Co., New York, the case Japanese, fitted with Tiffany movement No. 759, delivered in April 1901
On carved plinth of oval section, the tall case carved on all sides and applied with realistically carved flowers on lacquer ground, surmounted by a detailed model of a temple with large bell struck by an automaton figure, circular dial with chapters representing the Japanese Zodiac, hands in the form of arrows, the substantial two train spring driven movement with anchor escapement and short pendulum, striking the hour by animating the figure in the temple height 98in (250cm)

Footnotes

  • This magnificent clock, made by Tiffany and Company for the Seligman mansion at 30 East 56th street, is a visual testament to the grandeur of New York's Gilded Age.

    In Stephen Birmingham's Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York, the Seligmans are described as the "American Rothschilds" who brought international investment banking to New York City. The family's patriarch, Henry Seligman, ran J. & W. Seligman & Company and in 1899 married Adelaide Walter, a prominent New York society lady. As a sign of their wealth, the newlyweds commissioned C.P.H. Gilbert to construct a six-story, 20,000 square foot mansion on 56th street. Completed in 1902, just a few years before Gilbert began constructing the current Cartier building on 52nd street, the Seligman mansion is now a registered New York landmark. Rooms in the Seligman mansion had particular aesthetic themes including a Gothic library and a half-oval Japanese-style smoking room where this clock was most likely displayed.

    This unique clock is recorded in the manuscript order book kept by the Clock Department of Tiffany from 1879 to 1918, which is now in the collection of the New York Historical Society. The clock's movement was made in New York in 1901 to fit the elaborate case imported from Japan. On top of the clock is an automaton mechanism in the form of an elaborately timbered temple bell tower rung by a temple guardian with articulated arms. The oval body of the clock is carved with bamboo and flying cranes while the base is carved to represent minogame, or feather-tailed fish, which live in the water, and in Japanese culture represent longevity and felicity. Remarkable ivory and black lacquer decoration adorn the clock's door as the clock's elaborate face is surrounded by an ivory, mother of pearl and wood inlay. The brass and copper clock face uses the twelve animals of Chinese zodiac instead of numerals, with each disc signed by the Japanese artist who created it. The finishing touches on this intricate horological masterpiece are the hands which take the form of two bamboo arrows with naturalistic feathers.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Y CITES

Subject to CITES regulations when exporting items outside of the EU, see clause 13.

Contacts
  1. Mizanur Rahman
    Auction Administration - American Furniture, Folk Art and Decorative Arts
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1636
  2. Madelia Ring
    Specialist - American Furniture, Folk Art and Decorative Arts
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 710 1300