Neoclassical French gilt-bronze figural clock, circa 1820, decorated with symbols of the dawning of a new day. At left stands a winged female figure of Aurora, holding a torch and lifting the veil of darkness from the world, with a cockarel or rooster figure at right. The front of the globe holds a clock face with enameled dial having black steel hands and enameled Roman numerals, signed PERRIN B.B. NOUVELLE NO. 19. The globe rests on a circular plinth ringed with figural angel or putti heads and adorned with a centaur flanked by a lion and a lamb, while the base is ringed with a figural serpent. The rectangular plinth base is decorated in relief with Greco-Roman goddess and putto figures with a horse drawn chariot and supported on four round feet with egg and dart and guilloche decoration. Interior of clock stamped S.H. and scratch/inscribed "1870." 21 1/2" H x 15 1/2" W x 6 1/2" D. Provenance: Private Nashville collection. By oral history, this clock was a wedding present in 1887 from John Jacob Astor to the consignor's grandparents, Elizabeth Shepherd and George Erskine Stackhouse (sporting editor of the New York Tribune), and it has descended in their family to the current consignor. Astor likely knew the bridegroom through their mutual interest in two sports of the day that tended to attract a wealthy clientele: "automobiling" and bicycling. Both Astor and Stackhouse were members of the League of American Wheelmen; Stackhouse was active in organizing the cycling league and served on its racing board. Elizabeth Shepherd also likely had a connection to Astor through her great uncle, George Shepherd (1821-1911) who owned several stage coach lines in New York; early in his career he was a conductor on the line which began at Astor House, and later in life he joined John Jacob Astor and Cornelius Vanderbilt and others in applying for surface rail line along 5th Avenue. CONDITION: Female figure's thumb lacks gilding and appears to have been repaired. Dial with a few small cracks and discoloration. Pendulum and key present. Clock has recently run but working order is not guaranteed.
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