STEPHEN RIMBAULT musical automaton
STEPHEN RIMBAULT musical automaton
STEPHEN RIMBAULT musical automaton
STEPHEN RIMBAULT musical automaton

STEPHEN RIMBAULT musical automaton

c. 1770 to 1775 London

Offered by Howard Walwyn Ltd Fine Antique Clocks


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A rare musical automaton bracket clock by this well-known maker of musical clocks. The elegant ebonised case has a break arch top and gilt mounts, finials and mouldings and stands on four brass ogee bracket feet. The arched door is bound with a brass moulding, and there are beautifully cast and pierced brass sound frets to the front and sides. The case is surmounted by a pagoda roof supported by four turned brass pillars beneath which is a seated oriental figure wielding a hammer to strike the hours.

The substantial 8-day double fusee verge movement strikes the hours on a single bell. The arched dial has a matted brass centre, gilt foliate corner spandrels, inset datework and the maker's signature Stephn:Rimbault London on a raised silvered disc above VI. There are two subsidiary dials at the base of the dial: strike/silent on the left and a choice of six tunes on the right which play every three hours. They are:

Lass on the Hill/ Minuet/Tweed Side/March/White Joak/Minuet. The pinned musical barrel with its 12 hammers runs across the whole width of the case above the engraved backplate.

The pièce de resistance is the beautifully painted arch with its moving automata. In the background there is an idealized painted landscape with trees and a lake. At the top there is a windmill and each time the music plays the blades turn and the country folk in the foreground progress from right to left with their animals. The background scene and moving figures within the arch are framed by a painting of a young man in a red coat on the left and a group of sheep in a wood on the right hand side.

Height: 27 ½ in (70 cm)
Depth: 10 in (25.5 cm)
Width: 14 ¾ in (37.5 cm)

* Stephen Rimbault, born John Stephen Rimbault, worked in Great St Andrew’s Street between 1744 - 1785. He is listed on page 656 of Brian Loomes’s Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World – Complete 21st Century Edition.

Musical automaton clocks of this complexity, originality and beauty are rare. We know of one other by this maker in a chinoiserie red lacquer case which was illustrated in Mallett’s 2007 Sale Catalogue pp 60-61.

Stephn:Rimbault London
Howard Walwyn Ltd Fine Antique Clocks

Howard Walwyn Ltd Fine Antique Clocks
123 Kensington Church Street
W8 7LP

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