French Figural Mystery Clock
This French mystery clock is a marvel of French ingenuity, combining mechanical expertise with neoclassical artistry. Two bronze Greco-Roman figures ...
more This French mystery clock is a marvel of French ingenuity, combining mechanical expertise with neoclassical artistry. Two bronze Greco-Roman figures surmount the piece, with the maiden holding aloft an ornate pendulum as the young child at her side seemingly pulls it to and fro. A highly intricate mechanism within the base noiselessly works below the duo, keeping time with the dial and powering the child's movement while making it difficult for an onlooker to detect the source. Hidden workings such as these led to the moniker "mystery clocks," and these imaginative timepieces have captivated their viewers for over a century.
Mystery clocks are among the most fascinating mechanisms ever created, and they experienced extraordinary popularity when they were first developed in the mid-19th century. That mystery clocks such as the present example were exhibited at all the major international exhibitions of the day is a testament to their widespread appeal. Crafting them required a singular aptitude and talent for both mechanics and the decorative arts. The most legendary of these clockmakers was the great Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, a magician who also made mystery clocks that had no visible means of propulsion. This example is an entrancing example of the art form.
24 1/2" high x 14" wide x 7 1/4" deep less