Rare French Animated Musical Mantel Clock
This wondrous French animated musical mantel clock is a rare sight to behold. The complex diorama of motion depicts a bustling blacksmith shop, complete with animated smithies and moving bellows. A farrier is hard at work shoeing a nobleman’s horse while a rapt dog observes. Visible through the arched doorway of the shop is a village and church in the distance. Rolling hills and lush greenery further create remarkable depth and dimension of the background. A cylinder music box resides in the base, playing a lovely melodic tune in concert with the animation.
An exquisite ebonized case houses this remarkable machine. Intricate marquetry inlays of brass, mother of pearl, and tortoiseshell adorn the piece in rich detail. In the case above the scene rests an 8-day clock which strikes the hour and half-hours on a tuned gong. Vivid cobalt Roman numerals with pierced and gilt hands display the time upon a porcelain dial.
This wonderfully exquisite work of horological art is attributed to Parisian automaton clockmaker Xavier Tharin, one of the most revered makers of automaton picture clocks, active in the mid 19th century. Tharin was famed for producing clocks of this caliber, often favoring this distinctive blacksmith scene for several of his works.
Animated clocks are among the rarest and highly desirable clocks on the market, but one that features music and artistic skill are genuinely extraordinary. Clocks of this caliber were the markers of wealth and status in their day. Only the most affluent of society could afford the expense of commissioning a clock of such complexity. These mechanical marvels stand the test of time and still leave us in awe today.
This extraordinary clock, automaton, and music box bear a complete restoration and a one-year warranty.
28″ High x 17″ Wide x 7″ Deep