An Exceptional and Very Rare Musical Exhibition Skeleton Clock
An Exceptional and Very Rare Musical Exhibition Skeleton Clock
An Exceptional and Very Rare Musical Exhibition Skeleton Clock
An Exceptional and Very Rare Musical Exhibition Skeleton Clock

An Exceptional and Very Rare Musical Exhibition Skeleton Clock

1868 Scotland

Offered by Adrian Alan

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An Exceptional and Very Rare Scottish Eight-Day, Three-Train, Fusee Wound Quarter-Chiming and Musical Exhibition Skeleton Clock.

This large and very rare musical skeleton clock has a 14-inch foliate chapter ring inset with glass numerals and champlevé enamel hands. The six pillar, three train fusee and chain movement, is set within massive scroll plates finely engraved with foliate scroll arabesque. The clock includes a four tune music box located in the giltwood base. The base finely carved with fluted pilasters, anthemion and a guilloche running pattern border. The clock set within a glass dome.

The exceptionally high quality movement is of eight-day duration with a dead beat escapement, the clock chiming the quarters on a nest of eight bells, mounted on top of the clock, the hours struck on a further larger bell.

Once the hours are struck, a set of levers activates a cylinder comb musical movement mounted in the giltwood base. The musical movement has a duo-grouped tooth comb in forty-two clusters, with a brass bar number stamped for each, reading right to left.

The clock movement is wound through three holes in the giltwood base; the winding holes concealed behind gilt-bronze, push fit roundels. All three winding squares turn clockwise and the fusee chains can be seen winding from the drum onto the fuse. Automatic stopwork prevents overwinding.
The musical movement is wound through a concealed aperture on the right hand side of the base. There are two buttons, one either side of the winding hole. The left hand button repeats the music by pulling the button out and pushing back in. The button to the right hand side changes the tune. There are four tunes which automatically advance after each performance.

It is extremely rare to find the combination of a musical movement together with a skeleton form clock.
Skeleton clocks were probably first produced in their recognisable form from the mid-eighteenth century as master clock makers succeeded in reducing the number of train wheels required. The earliest examples were made by French masters such as Lepautre, Pierre LeRoy and Berthoud. It was however, around the 1820's that makers in countries such as England and Scotland began to refine and develop the form and create clocks of increasing complexity and refinement.

The popularity of the great international exhibitions in the second half of the 19th century saw clockmakers vying with each other to create ever more sophisticated and enthralling examples, some in architectural form such as cathedrals, and others with complex musical movements.

An example of a very similar large musical skeleton clock, by Crawford of Glasgow, can be found in the collection of the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh. (Illus. Royer-Collard - p. 121, Fig 7-24, 7-25). The Royal Museum clock, together with another known example, display almost identical scroll frames supported on tiered plinths and highly individual chapter rings; the clocks also display Roman Numerals on oval plaques. The present clock, although following the same general form, is finished to a much higher exhibition standard. It is enlivened to the frame with fine foliate scroll engraving, the oval numerals of delicate opaque glass and the hands finished in champlevé enamel.

It is highly likely given the quality and ambition of the present example, that it may have been made specifically for, or exhibited at, one of the great exhibitions of the second half of the 19th century.
Height 80.00 cm (31.50 inches)
Width 53.00 cm (20.87 inches)
Depth 30.00 cm (11.81 inches)
Stock Code
Engraved to the front plate 'J. BAXTER CRAWFORD, GLASGOW, MAKER'.
Adrian Alan

Adrian Alan
66/67 South Audley Street

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