c.1745 Silver-Gilt, Gilt-Wood, and Painted Grand Sonnerie Mantel Clock with Swinging Jester and Universal Dial, Joseph Graff, Prague.
An extremely rare mid-eighteenth century carved mantel clock with a universal dial, an animated pendulum and grande sonnerie striking with repeat. The gilt, silver-gilt and painted rococo case has polychrome panels within curvilinear borders and carved foliage. It is surmounted by a gilt eagle with a long garland in its beak and stands on four silver-gilt scaled serpents. The silvered engraved universal dial is divided into twenty-four time zones with each segment engraved with either a city or general area located in that particular zone. Most of the names have been translated, but a few are still mysteries. The center section carries the hour hand, has a silvered engraved twenty-four hour chapter, is painted in the center to represent night and day and is used to calculate the time in other parts of the world. The hour and minute hands are both cut steel with the hour in the shape of the sun. There is a red arrow at two-thirty which is believed to be where the zero meridian was placed. This practice was common before the zero meridian was permantely located on the Greenwich meridian. The twin-barrel eight-day movement has a crown wheel escapement, strikes and repeats grand sonnerie on two bells and has the initials I.G., Joseph Graff, stamped on the front plate. The pendulum, a gilt, silver-gilt and painted jester on a thin wire, which represents the swing, is suspended on two silk-threads, engages with the crutch at the side of the movement and swings back and forth in the opening while the clock is running. The clock's date is determined by several factors. The first is that the overall style is clearly transitional, Louis XV to Louis XVI. The second are the geographical clues obtained from the dial. It must be pre-1747 since California is represented as an island. California was represented on many maps, world and local, as an island until the King of Spain decreed it part of mainland America in1747.The third is our knowledge of the maker. There is a clock by Joseph Graff with a very similar dial in Tardy IV, pg. 375 and Graff is listed to be working in1750 in Meister deer Uhrmacherkunst, pg. 220. There is also a clock with a swinging gilt-wood figure by Hoys in the Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague. It is pictured in European Clocks, by Uresove, pg. 84. Height 26in.
Price: $ 42.000.-