Made in London in 1780, this magnificent automaton clock was created by master clockmaker, William Carpenter for a no doubt very wealthy client in China or India. It is crafted from brass, wood, glass and enamel and, with its English stamp of clock making quality, would have been quite a status symbol to a client in the east and would possibly have been part of an extensive collection, intended to show off the wealth, taste and buying power of its illustrious owner.
This clock is not just a timepiece, but an entertainment centre. On each quarter of the hour the tiny figures on the clock play one of six available tunes through bells concealed beneath their sculpted feet. However, that is only part of the entertainment and the clock face itself contains another treat for those lucky enough to see it in action. Depicted in the centre of the clock is a dazzling 18th century masque where dancers glide as the figures play their tuneful melody, creating a most dramatic and entertaining scene.
It is, I think, quite a work of art and would surely be the talking point of any parlour though it is a little big to wear on the wrist.