Clock with stand and keys, black marble with bronze dial and mounts, in the Egyptian style, made by Vulliamy & Son, London, 1807-1808
[Clock] Height: 22.86 cm, Width: 30.48 cm
[Stand for clock] Height: 4.75 cm, Width: 36.51 cm
British Galleries, room 120
Made in London by the firm of Vulliamy & Son, 74 Pall Mall, London
A plaque records that it was given in 1864 to Maria Theresa Villiers by Ernest Augustus II, King of Hanover, on the occasion of her marriage
The design of the serpents and the Egyptian sun god Horus was based on engravings published by Baron Vivant Denon, published in 1802, in his 'Voyages dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte'. This was an account of the recent French archaeological investigations in Egypt. Manufacturers such as Vulliamy used these motifs to decorate a wide variety of popular goods. [27/03/2003]
This marble clock with mounts of patinated bronze and ormolu (gilt bronze) was made by Benjamin Vulliamy between December 1807 and February 1808 at the same time as two other clocks of similar design. The clock movement is signed 'VULLIAMY LONDON No 438'. The Vulliamy account book describes No. 438 as an Egyptian ornamented clock.
Design & Manufacture
The figures of Horus (an ancient Egytian god) and the serpents that decorate the base come from plates in Vivant Denon's Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte, published in London in 1802.
The account book lists the craftsmen who worked on the clock and the amounts they were paid: a craftsman named Houle was paid £8 for 'chasing the Sphinxes' (modelling them with a hammer and steel tools); the movement was supplied by a craftsman named Jackson and only cost £5 10s. The clock was sold to Princess Mary on 5 June 1812 for 50 guineas.
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780-1854) produced a number of bronzes in the Egyptian taste. These included a set of vases (garniture) in marble and bronze made about 1810, which inspired copies and models in Britain, France, and the United States throughout the 19th century. Thomas Hope (1769-1831), who did much to introduce the Egyptian style to England in the Regency period, was among Vulliamy's clients.