A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London

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Lot 19
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox
The watch movement by J. Stroud, London

Sold for £ 127,250 (US$ 153,100) inc. premium

Fine Clocks

12 Dec 2012, 14:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox
The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
The rectangular case with re-entrant corners with a hinged lid set with the Roman and Arabic enamel watch dial with verge escapement wound from the rear, the upper part of the lid inlaid with moss agate panels within a running border of interlaced ovals, set to the front with an automata scene in three-colour gold with an automata fountain, a female harp-player and a bird ascending and descending a column supporting a vase of flowers, all against a painted background, the sides inlaid with coloured glass flutes, further supported on a concave plinth set with red and green stones, on four shell-cast claw and ball feet, the casket with purple velvet-lined interior, playing one of two tunes on a musical movement housed in the plinth, the tune selection lever to the underside, the play button set to the rear 15cms (6ins) to the top of the watch crystal, maximum width 12cms (4.75ins).

Footnotes

  • This casket is related to a number of gilt metal necessaires and caskets which share the characteristics of an upright rectangular form, rococo decoration enclosing agate panels and, most distinctively, concave corners with (usually) three vertical strips recalling Classical pilasters. It is very unlikely that John Stroud, whose signature is on the watch in the lid, was the maker of this casket, since other caskets of this type contain watches signed by various London makers. John Stroud is listed as working in London as a watchmaker prior to 1774.

    Necessaires and caskets, often containing musical movements and watches, were favourite articles for export from Europe to China in the second half of the eighteenth century. One well-known type, made by James Cox of Shoe Lane in the 1760s and 1770s, also used agate panels and rococo ornaments, but their cagework construction was rather different to the group of caskets represented by the current piece. (See lot 18 in this sale for an example of this type.)

    Much closer to the present casket is a pair of necessaires from the Chinese Imperial Collection recorded in Simon Harcourt-Smith's Catalogue of Various Clocks (etc) in the Palace Museum and the Wu Ying Tien, Peiping 1933, p. 32 and plate 35, see illustration. This pair were almost identical in design to the present piece but they are slightly narrower, and although they also had an automated scene in the front panel, they lacked the watch in the lid. It is not known if they are still in the collections of the Palace Museum, Beijing.

Saleroom notices

  • We are grateful to Roger Smith for his help in compiling this footnote.
Contacts
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
A fine and rare late 18th century moss agate and stone set gilt metal musical casket with automata scene in the manner of James Cox The watch movement by J. Stroud, London
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