A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes George Pyke, London

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Lot 150
A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes
George Pyke, London

Sold for £ 17,925 (US$ 23,179) inc. premium

Fine Clocks

15 Dec 2004, 14:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes
George Pyke, London
The case.
Conceived to be viewed from all sides and appropriately mounted. Surmounted by an eagle over a caddy top set to each side with gilt metal mounts and four cone finials, each canted corner set with female term mounts, the elaborate side handles cast with two opposing heads (one an angelic female, the other a horned male satyr), set to both sides with hinged doors (the right one opening to allow tune selection and winding of the organ movement), with silk backing on a plinth base to elaborate floral scroll feet.

The dial.
10.75 inch painted dial with stepped arch, set with a 4.25 inch enamel dial with Roman and arabic numerals and (chipped) winding square at IX, within a well cast, chased and gilded ormolu mask comprising flowerheads, martial trophies and ho-ho birds within elaborate pierced scrolls; above the mask is a painted scene in the manner of Peter Tillemans depicting eight figures in the foreground, one rolling a barrel, a pair unloading a boat and another pair in conversation while tending the four sheep depicted to the right hand side; set above this panel is a slightly recessed background scene of open water and a headland with two windmills, each with four rotating sails; below the horizon on a mock squally sea are eight ships on a hidden revolving chain running from left to right as the music plays and the windmills rotate.

The Movement.
Comprises of two connected movements.
The timepiece movement has shaped rectangular plates united by four knopped pillars and a single gut fusee, now with anchor escapement.
The organ movement has very substantial plates set at 90 degrees to the dial and uses five turned brass pillars, the massive spring barrel runs to a chain fusee some five inches in length and winds from the right hand side of the case. Mounted above the organ fusee is a pinned wooden barrel 10.75 inches in length operating the three sets of sixteen pipes below (two wood and one zinc) and playing one of ten tunes every three hours. A trip repeat lever is also present to allow playing of the tunes at will. Height 73cms. (28.75ins.) Width at base 49cms. (19.25ins.). Depth from front to back at base 37cms (14.5ins.).

Footnotes

  • George Pyke was born circa 1725 and died in 1777. His father, John, was a member of the Clockmakers Company from 1720 to 1762 and was a pre-eminent musical clock maker who described himself as 'Watchmaker to the Princess of Wales' in 1755. George inherited his fathers workshop and is responsible for some of the finest musical and automaton clocks made in the 18th century. He held the Royal Warrant as Organ-Builder to his Majesty.

    Research conducted by Miss Joan Jeffery in recent years reveals that on 31 December 1760, George insured his dwelling house at Vauxhall, known as Marble Hall, with the Sun Fire Company for £300; household goods and stock-in-trade there were insured for £1000 and utensils and stock in a nearby workshop were insured for a further £200; a grand total of £1500. Seven years later, he insured his goods, tools and stock in his late fathers premises (but not the premises) at the south end of Bedford Row for £1800.

    A very similar organ clock is in The Museum of London and others are in the Palace Museum in Peking and Warwickshire Museum. See 'The Musical Clock' by Arthur W J G Ord-Hume. With grateful thanks to Joan Jeffery for additional biographical notes.
A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes George Pyke, London
A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes George Pyke, London
A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes George Pyke, London
A fine third quarter of the 18th Century ormolu mounted ebonised automata organ clock playing a choice of ten tunes George Pyke, London
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