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Musical clock
  • Musical clock
  • François-René Morlay (active about 1756) , Fondeur , (case cast and chased by)
  • Attributed to Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis the Elder (about 1695–1774), Designer, perhaps
    François Viger (1708–1784), Movement Maker
    Claude Richard, Spring Maker
  • France
  • Date: About 1762
  • Medium: Gilt bronze, silk, glass, brass, enamel and steel
  • Object size: 90.5 x 66 x 30 cm
  • Weight: 63 kg
  • Inv: F97
  • Location: Back State Room
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Further Reading
  • This musical clock dates from the early 1760s and is a glorious confection of exuberant gilt bronze and rose pink silk. The case is flanked by sprays of flowers and leaves and, at the top, perched on a rocky outcrop, a beautifully modelled spaniel peers down as he uses his paws to retrieve a pheasant from beneath an oak branch. Resting on the corners of the base are musical instruments, such as a violin, a tambourine, a French horn and bagpipes, alongside some sheet music and a trumpet with a banner depicting the fleurs-de-lis of France. This may suggest that the clock was made for a member of the royal family. The naturalism achieved in the gilt-bronze flowers, leaves, twigs and acorns is remarkable, and the entire piece conjures up the early autumnal hunting season that played such a large part in the life of the court of Louis XV, who was reputed to have hunted six days a week. To cap it all, on the hour, every hour, the carillon plays one of 13 tunes, making a charming reminder of the passing of time.

    The design of the case is attributed to Duplessis the Elder, one of the most exciting and talented designers of decorative art of his age.