A VERY FINE ART NOUVEAU DOMED ARCHITECTURAL TABLE CLOCK
Edward F. Caldwell & Co., New York, circa early 20th century | an unsigned documented example
Item # 307PQH13X
An incredibly intricate Art Nouveau table clock from the renowned firm of Edward F. Caldwell, it is a brilliant architectural work that insinuates a domed cathedral of the Renaissance. This particular clock design is catalogued in the archival records of the Smithsonian Library and Archives (Large Portfolio 84, p. 5, # A025762). It features a cast bronze finial of opposing harpies rising from cornucopia that the Caldwell firm used in several of their designs (for example, as the central motif raising a pair of candelabra branches in # A25571, Smithsonian archives, see enclosed image) situated over a domed top with applied pierced bronze elements that are intricately chiseled and bright-engraved to create a complex endlessly swirling collection of fretwork surrounding ecclesiastical imagery of classical figures, putti and angels. The fretwork in the canted corners of the dome hint at the influence of orientalism in the design process while heroes battling fantastical creatures ride horses at each corner.
Raising each of the four corners of the structure are two male and two female bacchanalia figures brilliantly executed in gilded bronze, the front two flanking the circular face of the clock, this dial with raised Roman numerals over a hammered ground, the same motif of swirling foliage flowing centrally and in the spandrels of the face. The clock is raised on a base of fish-scale cove moldings over four pomegranite bun feet.
The clever entwining of motifs by the designer to create a new object that embodies the essence of Art Nouveau is evident throughout the form. The classical inspirations in the heavenly imagery of the dome juxtapose brilliantly the Naturalism in the lower body of the clock.
It remains an incredibly elaborate and cherished example.
Measurements: 21" H x 8" D x 11 1/4" W
Surfaces throughout are heavily worn and tarnished. The bronze elements were finished by the Caldwell firm with a pigment based patina that has largely oxidized or worn away and much of it would have originally been more of a brown hue instead of the golden hue present where patina has been relieved. Composition of the silver metal unexamined. Includes a replaced winding key. Movement is complete and generally functional, but has not been professionally cleaned or serviced.