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Decorative Arts and Design

This monumental clock was a diplomatic gift presented by Napoleon to Robert Livingston, the American minister to France from 1801 to 1804. The classically inspired decoration on the clock includes a figure and relief of Apollo, the Greek sun god; a laurel wreath; and a smaller plaque representing Ganymede, the Greek wine bearer of the gods. These elements were part of the design vocabulary of the Neoclassical style, called Empire in France.
MEDIUM Gilded bronze, marble, enamel
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES ca. 1800
    DIMENSIONS 33 1/2 × 26 × 9 1/4 in. (85.1 × 66 × 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed on clock face: "Henry Voisin A - Paris"
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Frederick A. Yenni
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1808, provenance not yet documented; before 1808, reportedly acquired by Robert Robert Livingston of New York, NY; 1808, reportedly given by Robert Robert Livingston to Robert Fulton of New York; 1815, inherited from Robert Fulton by Harriet Livingston Fulton; 1826, probably inherited from Harriet Livingston Fulton (later, Harriet Livingston Dale) by her family; by 1863, reportedly inherited through the family by Robert B. Livingston; 1863, reportedly purchased from the estate of Robert B. Livingston by Frederick A. Yenni of Brooklyn, NY; 1883, gift of Frederick A. Yenni to Mrs. Frederick A. Yenni, probably Anna Deming Courtney Yenni, of Brooklyn; September 25, 1939, gift of Mrs. Frederick A. Yenni to the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Clock, Empire style. Case is gilt bronze, square construction with applied decoration of stars, wreaths and ribbons, surrounding a white enamel face with without glass covering. The face is inscribed. The clock case rests on a slab of marble and has to its proper right a mythological figure with one arm on top of the clock and holding a harp. To the proper left is a flame torchiere resting on a tricorn base decorated by three rams heads. A gold laurel wreath is leaning against the base of the torchiere. Condition: Good.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION (internal clockworks) Henry Voisin (French, active early 19th century). Clock, ca. 1800. Gilded bronze, marble, enamel, 33 1/2 × 26 × 9 1/4 in. (85.1 × 66 × 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Frederick A. Yenni, 39.438a. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 39.438a_front_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 39.438a_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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