19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin
19th Century mystery clock by Houdin

JEAN EUGENE ROBERT-HOUDIN (1806-1871)

19th Century mystery clock by Houdin

c. 1840 France

Offered by Mayfair Gallery Ltd.

£45,000 gbp
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This is an exceptional and rare clock by the famous French magician and inventor of the 'mystery clock' mechanism, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (French, 1805-1871). Robert-Houdin worked in Paris during the 19th Century and is often considered to be the father of modern magic. He is so highly regarded among magicians that the famous escape artist Erik Weisz named himself Harry Houdini, after Robert-Houdin.

Houdin's mystery clocks are so called because the clock seems to work by magic, with no visible mechanism connecting to the face. The clock hands give the appearance of floating above the surface of the face while they are turning. The illusion works with the clock face being made from two plates of transparent glass, with the clock hand being mounted onto the front plate of glass and the numbers painted on the back plate. The front plate is attached to the ormolu surround, which is connected to the clock movement, which resides in the base. As the movement in the base operates, it rotates the ormolu surround, which turns the front panel and clock hand, producing a working clock.

The glass clock face has only one hand, in the form of an arrow, which places this clock within a series of Robert-Houdon clocks made in the late 1830s. The face is set on a gilt bronze Y shaped column with griffins shown at either side and a central shell design. This in turn is set on a patinated bronze plinth base with gilt bronze mounts, including a putto surrounded by scrolling foliage mounted to the centre of the plinth. The plinth also encases the clock movement, which is stamped 'Robert Houdin Paris'. The rectangular base is set on scrolling, fluted gilt bronze feet.
Dimensions
Height 35.00 cm (13.78 inches)
Width 13.50 cm (5.31 inches)
Depth 7.50 cm (2.95 inches)
Stock Code
14988
Medium
Gilt and patinated bronze, glass
Signed/Inscribed
Movement stamped 'Robert Houdin Paris'
Mayfair Gallery Ltd.

Mayfair Gallery Ltd.
39 South Audley Street
London
W1K 2PP

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+44 (0)20 7491 3435
+44 (0)20 7491 3436
+44 (0)7768 980572
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