About this artwork
An exuberant and lavish example of the French Rococo style, this sculptural wall clock epitomizes the extravagant era of Louis XV (r. 1715–74). Festooned with ormolu (gilt bronze) swirls and floral swags, the clock required the collaboration of numerous specialized artisans. Its case, candelabra, and wall bracket were created by the eminent Jean-Pierre Latz, who was appointed ébéniste (furniture maker) to the king in 1741. The clock’s eight-day movement was manufactured in the Flemish city of Ghent by Francis Bayley, possibly a member of the large London dynasty of clockmakers of that name. Opulent clocks such as this did more than tell time; they delighted the ear with music (six melody titles are engraved in the dial’s arch) and dazzled the eye with dramatic scenes. Here the Greek god Apollo is poised at the top of the clock case to slay the serpent Python. The space between the clock and the wall bracket was cleverly used to suggest the beast’s home, the cave of Mount Parnassus in Greece. In the triangular base are the faces of Zeus, symbolizing time, and Hera, presiding over marriage and childbirth. They are surmounted by two small coats of arms belonging to the Flemish bride and groom whose union the clock was probably created to celebrate.
- Jean Pierre Latz
- Wall Clock
- Oak, tortoiseshell, kingwood, brass, gilt bronze, and glass
- Mark: "Francis Bayley, Ghendt"
- 147.3 × 64.8 × 53.3 cm (58 × 25 1/4 × 21 in.)
- Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund