H Blairman and Sons

Three-piece clock garniture


Ivory veneers, with wood and brass marquetry; silvered and gilded base metal mounts

Clock: 34.9 x 33 x 18.4 cm

Candelabra: 22.8 x 23.5 x 11.4 cm

French  (Paris), circa 1875


Collection Comoglio, Paris


‘Japonisme: Japanese Influence on French Art 1854-1910’, Cleveland Museum of Art, Rutgers University Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art, 1975-76, no. 215


Gabriel Weisberg, et al., Japonisme: Japanese Influence on French Art 1854–1910, London, 1975, no. 215


The composition of the present garniture, the only example known to survive, acknowledges a tradition in French manufacturing dating back to the eighteenth century, the era of the marchands merciers. At the same time, it reflects contemporary fascination with the art of Japan. ‘The clock itself is in the form of a rooster carrying on its back a drum containing the clock movement and standing on a platform supported by four turtles. As a mélange of Oriental motifs combined without regard for their symbolic significance, the clock is characteristic of the early Japonisme of the 1870s. The coq and temple drum are a common subject in Japanese art, though invariably the bird is shown standing on the drum …’ Martin Eidelberg and William Johnston in Weisberg, op. cit., p. 171.

It has until recently been thought that the ivory and marquetry technique used by Ferdinand Duvinage was first patented by his widow Rosalie in 1877 and that such work probably made its first appearence at the Paris Exposition Universelle, 1878.  But Emmanuelle Arnauld’s research has revealed an earlier brevet for 6 May1874 and an amendment dated 27 November 1876; see ‘L’ivoire cloisonné de Duvinage: L’utilasation nouvelle d’une technique ancienne’ in Marqueteries virtuoses au XIXe siècle: Brevets d’inventions, Paris, 2012, pp. 72–83.

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