GlitzQueen Antique and Vintage Jewelry

Lovely Art Nouveau China Clock with Lady Portraits

Lovely Art Nouveau China Clock with Lady Portraits

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Directory: Antiques: Instruments and Implements: Timepieces: Clocks: Pre 1920: Item # 581491
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Perfect for a pretty boudoir or any other space too feminine for a modern clock, this antique design is decorated with two ladies who look like they stepped out of paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema. Wearing what passed in Victorian times for "classical" dress, they're posed amid roses, oranges and urns on a stone terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Sailboats are visible beyond, as well as an imposing structure that suggests a Greco-Roman temple. Quite a lot of detail is packed into the illustration.

Other charms of the china case are its graceful scrolling shape, soft background color that shades from aqua to sand and edges detailed with gilding. The clock stands 8 inches high and is 4.75 inches at its widest.

Although not at all a clock expert, I simply couldn't resist this beauty at an English auction sale. Even after the journey home, it's still working. An oddity about it mechanically is that the dial used to set the time can't be left in place or it blocks the spinning of the winding mechanism, stopping the clock. (I have it dangling from a piece of tape at the moment.) Possibly either the setter or the winder is a later replacement, but it might have been this way all along. I also don't understand the small crescent-shaped opening at the back, marked with a gauge and the letters S at top and F at bottom. Presumably there was once a part that slid along this to control something. If you're happy for the clock simply to look fabulous and keep time, these are non-issues -- but, if they bother you, I expect any good clock-fixer can easily take care of them. The only other flaws are age-appropriate wear to the base and slight fading of color and gilding (mainly on the top, which would have been dusted most often). There are no chips, cracks or signs of repair, which is rather amazing after so long.

I've found no markings to indicate origin, but there may be clues inside. Certainly it's European and dates circa 1890-1920. A similar one, but painted only with roses, is identified as English and offered elsewhere online for $300.

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