Exceptional musical clock owned by Egypt's lavish monarch, King Farouk, leads Bonhams Fine Clocks Sale

12 Dec 2012, Fine Clocks

Highlights of the sale include musical clocks by James Cox and George Prior

An intricately decorated musical clock once owned by King Farouk, the penultimate King of Egypt, will go under the hammer at Bonhams Fine Clocks sale on 12th December at New Bond Street.

Estimated to sell for £150,000 – 250,000, it is a rare and ornately decorated silver-mounted musical table clock, which is still accompanied by the original signed and dated key. The exquisitely designed clock has been in the same family for at least fifty years and has not been seen on the auction market since 1954. Prior to the current owner, the clock would have formed part of the King's impressive collection of highly decorative European watches, clocks and snuff boxes.

Farouk was the penultimate King of Egypt and the Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I of Egypt, in 1936 at the age of 16. He quickly became enamored with the glamor of being a royal and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Although he already owned dozens of palaces and hundreds of cars, he often traveled to Europe for spending sprees to add to his grand collection.

The young King had a passion for valuable and highly decorated pieces, which during the Second World War led to a steep fall in his popularity. While the rest of the country was undergoing the hardships of war, King Farouk resolutely kept his palaces lit and continued in his elaborate lifestyle.

After further discontent a military coup was staged in 1952 and Farouk was forced to abdicate. Immediately after his abdication the monarch's baby son Fuad II was proclaimed King, but in reality the monarchy had been abolished. Farouk fled Egypt and the revolutionary government moved quickly to sell his enormous collection of treasures at auction.

The present clock was one of the most exquisite pieces among the collection, created by the great designer, James Cox in 1766. Originally a goldsmith, Cox is better known today for his elaborate musical clocks and automata, which he produced and exported to countries such as China and Russia.

Other highlights of the sale include another fine and rare late 18th Century glass-mounted six-tune musical table clock by George Prior. Estimated at £40,000 – 60,000, the clock was made for the export market by the renowned clock-maker. Exquisitely and delicately decorated, it bears resemblance to one of the most famous glass-mounted clocks, the twelve-tune example by George Clarke, of Leadenhall Street, still in use today at the Goldsmith's Hall.

James Stratton, Director of the Clocks department commented "King Farouk had an extraordinary collection of fine clocks and watches, and this James Cox clock is one of the most impressive of the lot. It is all the more rare for including the original key and we are expecting a great deal of interest. Our December sale includes some truly unusual and exceptionally made clocks by some of the most well-renowned clock-makers of all time."


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

Contacts
  1. James Stratton
    Specialist
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 207 468 8364
    FaxFax: +44 207 468 8370
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