The European Decorative Arts Company is proud to present an outstanding collection of European Ivory Carvings from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The group of ivory sculptures featured on this website reflect many of the major art movements that took place in Europe, from the Baroque and Neo-classical, through the Romantic and Historicist periods. Our collection includes works by celebrated artists such as Froment Meurice, Anton Diessl, Duvinage, Maison Alphonse Giroux, and Wilhelm Schulz.

 

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Ivory Mantle Clock: Eros and Pysche, Circa 1910


Maker(s): 
Date: Circa 1910
Materials/Techniques:    Ivory, silver, lapis lazuli
Dimensions: h 13.0 "
w 9.587 "
d 5.0 "

Origin: Austrian
Inventory #: 59
Inscription:
Silver marked several times with A for Austria
Clock face made from lapis Lazuli with ivory hands
watch movement
Silver marked several times with A for Austria
Silver Purity Dogs Head mark on small items for the former Austro-Hungarian Empire used March 1872 to May 1922
Makers mark JW conjoined, possibly for Jacob Wasserberger
H 33.5cm x W 25cm x D 12.5cm

Other:


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Very few examples of European clocks from the 18th, 19th or even 20th century, made entirely from ivory, were produced. Even though by the time this clock was made raw ivory had come down in price significantly (particularly through the Belgian Congo), it was still a precious material that required the specific skills of the carver and simply was not a cost-effective material to employ for mechanical objects. This large example was therefore either a special commission made to order or an object produced to be shown at one of the international exhibitions. The carving is very fine and the ivory is in wonderful condition, partly owing to the survival of its original case. The sumptuousness of the ivory is also complemented by the silver base mounted with lapis lazuli panels.

The subject of Grecian-clad figures mounted on either side of a clock movement was a subject that certainly dates back to atleast the late 18th century, particularly in France, when clock cases became increasingly sculptural in design, depicting figures derived from classical mythology, Roman history and/or allegorical subjects. There do not appear to be any direct precedents for this model, but the designer or maker may very well have been familiar with clocks similar to the one shown in fig. 29 from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and illustrated by Tardy, circa 1775.1

 

Related literature:

1 Tardy, Les Plus Belles Pendules Francaises, 1st edition, 1949, p. 29.