1st November 2018
A George III ormolu mounted tortoiseshell ten-tune musical automaton table clock by James Cox, circa 1770-1780, with eight day three train fusee movement, the transverse mounted 5½ inch barrel playing ten tunes on thirteen bells via thirteen hammers, with strike to large bell on backplate, the backplate finely engraved with foliate scrolls, the circular enamel dial with black Roman hour numerals, outer Arabic minutes and inner Arabic date ring, inscribed 'James Cox London', flanked by subsidiary strike/silent and tune selection dials, all within a cast and pierced ormolu surround of rococo scrolls, flowers and two birds, above a painted and cut metal automaton parade scene of European figures, sheep and trees in a rural setting, the rectangular tortoiseshell veneered case with naturalistically entwined foliate scroll ormolu mounts overall, the bell top surmounted by an urn above opposing panels of an Eastern gentleman seated within a tent, cornered by four flambeau vases, the arched door below a king's crown and cornucopia cresting, the sides with arched fret panels, the base centred with fruiting vine above a repeated 'three drop' apron, raised on foliate scroll moulded feet, height 55.5cm. Provenance: consigned from the estate of a private collector, whose London home and contents remained largely untouched for decades. The majority of this collection is Chinese export porcelain of the 17th and 18th century, which is being sold at these rooms in a single-owner sale on 29th November 2018. Note: James Cox (circa 1723-1800) is best known for creating elaborate and ingenious automata and mechanical clocks, which he exported to China and other countries and also exhibited at his Spring Gardens Museum, London, between 1772 and 1776. A number of his clocks from the former Imperial Collection are now in the Palace Museum, Beijing. Among his best known works are the Peacock Clock, now in the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, and the Silver Swan, built in conjunction with John Joseph Merlin, which can now be seen at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham. Other works by Cox can be found in the British Royal Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. For numerous illustrations and discussions of clocks and automata by James Cox and other celebrated makers, see 'English Clocks for the Eastern Markets' by Ian White. A clock with similar 'three drop' apron is illustrated on the front cover and discussed on page 220. We are grateful to Dr Ian White for his assistance while cataloguing this lot.
Hammer price: £85,000
Buyer’s Premium is an additional charge on each lot sold, currently this is set at 24.5% plus VAT (29.4% including VAT) of the hammer price.
All sold prices shown exclude Buyer’s Premium
View the condition report for this lot