An Extraordinary Late 19thC Spelter Gothic Mantle Clock in the Form of a Winged Devil c.1880

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1880-95
Height: 18.5 inches
Depth: 8 inches
Width: 14.5 (all at extremities)

The two-train rare mantle clock crafted in spelter with polychrome painted highlights, formed as the Devil in leather attire with large wings, playing the clock as a bass drum with a cymbal in his other hand, the clock movement, mounted on a simulated wooden framework of naturalistic faux bois with a scrolled shield and winged griffins flanking the base, the French brass two train movement, stamped ‘26’, striking at the half hour and hour on one bell, the red enamelled dial having Roman numerals and a brass face with a glass casing doors to either side, and two winding apertures, the whole surviving from late nineteenth century England.

The clock remains largely untested, though it is striking on the half hour and hours as it should do whilst the enamel dial is in good order and the pendulum is original to the piece though the winding key is absent (a replacement is easy to source). The enamel and brass is all in good order and the bell and movement appears complete. The glazed case to both sides of the movement drum is original and without cracks. One of the devils wings has had a break through it at one stage and it has been re-attached so there is a hairline crack present to one wing and it is a little weaker than the unrepaired wing. Overall, with the wing repair aside, it is in pretty pleasing overall order. We’d recommend a service but we can’t see any reason to believe that with a routine service it would be running perfectly. We can arrange a service if required on sale.

We have found only two other examples of clocks like this, one selling in Massachusetts, America for $9,000 in November 2011. That example had the additional members of the ‘band’ which was a three piece band consisting of the central devil beating a bass drum clock as we have but with the additions of two devil candlesticks to the flanks as a garniture, one playing a violin, and one on a guitar. We are unsure of these clocks were all made as garnitures or whether they were also commissioned and sold as a single mantle clock as we have here.

This is a remarkable piece of Gothic inspired high-victoriana; fantastically theatrical and sensational both at the time of its conception and still today, proving a highly scarce and desirable decorative clock.