Tiffany and Co. Antique Sterling and Mokume Clock, NYC, NY, c. 1880
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Featuring stunning panels of mokume with different patterns, metals, and coloring, this clock is the finest example of mokume art we have ever seen. To quote former Tiffany & Co. design director John Loring: "This is metalworking of astounding virtuosity." (1)
A wavy base chased with dogwood blossoms against a hammered background is a beautiful display of aesthetic movement design. The undulating frame continues around the sides of the clock, framing the spectacular mokume paneled front. The clock's wonderful dial has applied silver numbers surrounding a faceplate of etched foliage intertwined with swan heads. The back of the clock is beautifully hammered all over with a hinged door covering the winding mechanisms.
This unique clock is a spectacular example of Tiffany's design, creativity, and execution. It is an extraordinary achievement when one thinks of the skill and effort involved to create each of the mokume panels and then shape, solder, and bend them into place with such precision. The colored metals are striking and vibrant. To better understand Tiffany's process of creating mokume, see our blog post here.
Possibly this best surviving example of Tiffany's rare mokume mixed metal work; this clock is exceptional in every way. Having been included in the seminal exhibition Silver in America: 1840-1940 confirms its place as an iconic piece of American art.
Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor- 1994-96:
Dallas Museum of Art, 6 November 6, 1994 - January 29, 1995; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, March 12 - May 21, 1995; Milwaukee Art Museum, June 13 - August 13, 1995; Winterthur Museum, Wintherthur, Delaware, September 9,1995 - January 7, 1996
You can see the clock in situ at the exhibit in Dallas here.
Literature: Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor Magnificent Tiffany Silver Tiffany Timepieces
Provenance: Christie's, October 1, 1988, lot28 Collection of Victor Niederhoffer, Sotheby's, June 15, 1998, lot 1692 Private collection.
This extraordinary clock is marked underneath "TIFFANY & Co/ 6173 MAKERS 2696/ STERLING-SILVER/ -AND-/ OTHER-METALS/ M." It measures 9 inches high by 8.5 inches wide by 4.75 inches deep. The body is in excellent antique condition, although the movement of the clock is not currently working. The tiny disc and pin securing the hands are replaced.
John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver (New York: Abrams, 2001), p. 177.
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