The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Rare 18th century pagoda form musical automaton clock soars to $998,250 at Fontaine's auction
Exceedingly rare 18th century English-made pagoda form automaton musical clock, produced for the Chinese Qing Imperial Court ($998,250).

PITTSFIELD, MASS.- An exceedingly rare 18th century English-made pagoda form automaton musical clock, produced for the Chinese Qing Imperial Court, fell just shy of the $1 million mark when it sold for $998,250 (including buyer’s premium) at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s Antiques and Fine Art Auction, held January 21st in the firm’s gallery at 1485 West Housatonic Street.

The clock was magnificent: 50 inches tall (raised, on a large black wood block base). It weighed 100 pounds and had an engraved chessboard pattern brass top, with 5-inch painted metal dials on the front and both sides, and Roman hour numerals. The time movement triggered the automaton mechanism once every two hours, and the heavy bronze case had elegant color paste set jewels.

As beautiful as the clock was physically, it was equally enchanting musically. It played two different tunes on a nest of eight bells, including the old Chinese folk song Mo Li Hau, which has been popular since the 17th century, in China and elsewhere. The pagoda animated every two hours, corresponding to the 12-hour Chinese time system, and the music played every two hours.

The case form was based on the Pagoda of Nanjing (or the Temple of Repaid Gratitude), built in the 15th century, during the Chinese Ming dynasty. The structure was mostly destroyed in the 19th century, during the Taiping Rebellion, but with nine stories and a staircase in the middle, it was one of the tallest buildings in China and called one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The clock was the expected top lot in a sale that featured over 450 items, including a fine clock collection, watches, music boxes, 19th and 20th century lighting, period furniture, oil paintings, bronzes, estate jewelry, silver and accessories. Internet bidding was provided by the platforms and, as well as Fontaine’s website,

The auction grossed just over $1.64 million. Following are additional highlight from the sale. All prices quoted include a 21 percent buyer’s premium.

E. Howard & Co. (Boston) clocks, popular with collectors, are a staple at most Fontaine’s clock auctions, and this sale had several, to include a floor standing regulator, signed and dated 1891, with gravity escapement by H. Conant, that sold for $24,200. Also, a Joseph Jennens oak 9-tube grandfather clock, 106 inches tall, with carved oak case attributed to R. J. Horner, hit $25,410.

A French industrial animated clock with a gilt brass case in the form of a vertical steam boiler, with moving parts animated by a spring-driven mechanism, mounted on a rouge marble base, brought $20,570; while a French figural mystery two-chain swinger clock with a standing cast metal figure of a woman wearing a floral crown and holding a bouquet of flowers, made $5,142.

A three-color Pairpoint Puffy Rose table lamp with 10-inch diameter reverse painted puffy shade with colorful roses on a green leafy background, on a molded spelter base with pyramidal poppy form, lit up the room for $9,377. Also, a large, room-size palace rug designed in four panels with birds and filigree, 159 inches by 255 inches, with no wear or repairs, changed hands for $6,352.

A pure white marble sculpture depiction of the mythological figure Diana, by Rafaello Battelli (It., 19th century), shown standing amongst a crescent moon and stars, 34 inches tall and signed, breezed to $19,360; and a large brown sculpture of two hounds (“Pompier” and Caron”), tied to a tree trunk, by Auguste Nicolas Cain (Fr., 1822-1894), 25 inches tall, signed, finished at $7,865.

Rounding out just some of the day’s top lots, a Gothic pierced bronze center coffee table with a gilt bronze octagonal base with Gothic arches, finials and wavy pierced decorated panels, rose to $5,142; and a large figural walnut carved elk head with antlers, mounted with natural elk horns on a self-framed filigree carved back panel, carved by “H. Leach,” 56 inches tall, fetched $6,050.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery has several big Antiques & Fine Art Auctions planned for the first half of 2017, on March 25th, April 22nd , May 2nd and June 17th, all in the Pittsfield gallery with start times of 11 am Eastern time. These will feature fine clocks, watches, music boxes, 19th and 20th century lighting, exceptional furniture, paintings, bronzes, jewelry, silver and accessories.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality items, to include furniture, lighting, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items for future sales. Consignments are currently being accepted for all the upcoming auctions.

The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment fine antiques, collections or entire estates. Call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine.

Today's News

February 1, 2017

Exhibition at Kunsthalle Bremen focuses on French printmaking in the age of Louis XIV

So bad, they're good: Madrid celebrates trash films

Amateurs can hunt relics with modern 'Indiana Jones'

Ex-owner of Hitler house sues Austria

"A Stitch in Time" debuts at The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Saatchi Gallery launches new exhibition space

Anish Kapoor recreates seminal artwork in anti-Trump protest

The Museum of the City of New York receives largest gift in its history

Canada's most prestigious art and design school launches new identity

National Portrait Gallery's collection of presidential portraits undergoes renovation

UOVO, the fastest growing art storage and services company, opens third New York facility

Rare 18th century pagoda form musical automaton clock soars to $998,250 at Fontaine's auction

CNB Gallery opens a solo exhibition of new works by the Belgian/German artist Philipp Rudolf Humm

"Spectacular" Meyerhoff collection of Mucha sells 93% at Swann Galleries

7 winning Super Bowl MVP collectibles

Artist Graham Fink uses-eye tracker to draw portraits live using his eyes

Record breaking Wall Street numbers spark Arturo Di Modica buying trend at Capo auction

Who says brown furniture is dead? says auctioneer as chest of drawers sells for £42,000 at auction

PHOTOFAIRS attracts key collectors and curators to their inaugural US edition in San Francisco

Exhibition of new paintings by Keith Milow opens at Dadiani Fine Art

Svenja Deininger presents a new body of work comprising more than 40 paintings at Vienna's Secession

"In Their Footsteps: Deborah Pierce Bonnell Paints Weir Farm" opens at the Greenwich Historical Society

Scottish island pays fiery tribute to Viking past

MFA Boston awards 2017 Maud Morgan Prize to artist Annette Lemieux

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Morgan receives a major Renoir drawing unseen for over 50 years

2.- A rare piece of U.S. paper money estimated at $2 million highlights Stack's Bowers Galleries auction

3.- $578K Rolex tops Morphy's $4 million Fine & Decorative Arts & Jewelry Auction

4.- Haunted by colonial past, Belgium's Africa museum reopens after revamp

5.- National Gallery of Canada acquires The Foursome (The Partie Carrée) by James Tissot

6.- Spectacular show presents magical and dream-like atmospheres by Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo

7.- National Gallery of Art elects Kaywin Feldman as its fifth Director, succeeding Earl A. Powell III

8.- National Portrait Gallery to stage major new exhibition on the women who shaped Pre-Raphaelite art

9.- Unique exhibition on Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck opens in Turin

10.- Exhibition at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum presents works by Victor Vasarely

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful