Sunday, August 5, 2012

George III Or Moulu Bejeweled Musical Elephant Clock

This magnificent elephant-shaped clock was sold for a stupendous US $2,491,610 during the Sotheby’s Treasures Princely Taste auction held in London in July 2012. Signed by Peter Torckler, this magnificent bejewelled clock was made in 1780, and is called the George III Paste-Set Or Moulu Musical Automation Clock. Or moulu is a French word that means ground or pounded gold. This musical elephant clock was originally estimated to fetch around $1,547,997, but ended up collecting about a million dollars more. According to sources, it has been bought by a rich art collector from Asia.

Created in the late eighteenth century, the elephant clock is believed to have been acquired by Nassir al Din Shah Qajar, the Shah of Persia in London, in the 1890s. Hence, the musical elephant clock is also known as the Shah of Persia’s Ormolu Elephant Automation Clock. The Shah of Persia was a talented painter, a poet, an artist, and a patron of the art of photography. He was known for his love for art and beauty, and would have been impressed by the magnificence of the bejewelled elephant clock.

Features of the Or-moulu Gold Bejeweled Musical Elephant Clock

The musical clock shows an Asian elephant, with a canopy-covered howdah on its back. Inside the howdah is a small statue of Atlas, with hands supporting an armillary sphere over his head. Over the canopy-covered howdah, is a foliate and painted finial, which is holding up a bejeweled Catherine wheel that rotates. On the top of this Catherine wheel is a small pineapple.

The elephant in the George III Or-moulu Gold Musical Clock is cased in two sections, and encloses one movement. It rests over a finely carved rockwork base, with artistic flowers and rosettes covering the winding apertures. The elephant on the clock displays four mechanical movements every three hours, which run at the same time. This is in addition to the spinning jeweled section on the finial, the movement of the wheels, and the bending of the glass ‘waterfall’ rods and windmills on the clock’s base.

This bejewelled golden elephant musical clock is typical of the fascinating pieces of art that were designed by British craftsmen in the late nineteenth century. Such art pieces were usually destined for the Chinese market, and were promoted by the East India Company as a means for reducing the trade deficit between China and Britain. With the sale of this bejewelled elephant musical clock for around 2.5 million dollars, it is obvious that such rare pieces of art are well liked by art collectors.

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