Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Hong Kong, Feb 07, 2015

LOT 88

JOHN MOTTRAM MUSICAL TABLE CLOCK FOR THE CHINESE MARKET ORMOLU John Mottram, London. Made for the Chinese market, circa 1790. Very fine and extremely rare, George III, small, ormolu and paste-set, center-seconds, quarterstriking and musical table clock. Accompanied by a key.

HKD 300,000 - 500,000

USD 38,000 - 64,000 / CHF 39,000 - 65,000

Sold: HKD 362,500

Stepped square platform raised on four splayed feet, each side of the plinth applied with foliate scroll and flowerhead mounts flanking flowerhead bosses, all main panels engraved, the sides centred by silk-backed openwork foliate cast sound frets, each corner angle with a projecting scroll mount, the rear door pierced with an oval lattice-work sound fret, the arch- top surmounted by a double loop and vase finial and foliate mounts, the bezel set with alternating red and blue pastes, a spandrel in each corner further set with red, green, blue and white paste stones. White enamel, convex, radial Roman numerals, outer minute track and Arabic five-minute numerals. Brass heart hands, blued steel seconds hand adjusted by a knob beneath the dial. Rectangular plates with engraved border, chain and fusee for both trains, anchor escapement, brass bob pendulum, quarter-striking with two hammers on two of a nest of eight bells, the music playing via pinned barrel on the same eight bells with fourteen hammers, playing a tune selected by a square on the back plate, holdfast for the brass-rod pendulum. Movement signed.

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Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3-7



Movement: 3-30*



Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-9-01



HANDS Original


DIM. 33 x 18 x 15 cm. JOHN MOTTRAM (active 1780-1811) had premises in Warden Court, Clerkenwell Close, London. He was one of a number of English makers who made fine quality musical automaton clocks for the Eastern market. According to Ord-Hume (p.313), his work is often confused with that of James Cox and it is assumed that he worked for or with Cox on some projects. Related clocks by Mottram were sold by Sotheby's London, Important Clocks, Watches, Barometers and Mechanical Musical Instruments, December 12, 2001, lot 76 and Christie's Hong Kong, Magnificent Clock for the Chinese Imperial Court, May 27, 2008, lot 1512. LITERATURE Arthur W J G Ord-Hume, The Musical Clock, Musical and Automaton Clocks and Watches, Mayfield, 1995.