Washington Clock with Relief of Cornwallis Resigning his Sword to Washington, before 1819
Case: French, for the American market, before 1819
Works: Jean-Baptiste Dubuc (active 1790–1819)
Probably retailed by Isidore Grenot
Ormolu and patinated bronze, with enameled dial and clock works
19 13/16 in. high, 7 3/4 wide, 4 7/8 in. deep
Inscribed (on the dial): Isidore / Grenot / Edidit / N-31; (in black, on the back of the enameled dial): 1252 / DUB—; (in red, on the back of the dial): 125  / Isid[ore] / Greno t / Ed / [illeg.]; (with engraving, on the plinth below the bust of Washington): First in War, First in peace, / and/ First in the hearts of his Countrymen; (below the Cornwallis scene): CORNWALLIS RESIGNING HIS SWORD TO WASHINGTON; (on a banner, across a shield over the eagle’s chest): E PLURIBUS UNUM
Among the many French ormolu clocks commemorating George Washington from the period around 1820, this example appears to be one of only two known examples of its specific type (photograph of the other example in Hirschl & Adler archives). Although the bust of Washington himself is known both as an ornament on various clocks of this type and as an independent sculptural object (see, for example, one formerly in the collection of Israel Sack, Inc., New York [American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection V, p. 1387 no. P4320 illus.]), and the form of the clock casing is not unfamiliar, including an example at Winterthur (see Edgar G. Miller, Jr., American Antique Furniture II [Dover Publishing, New York, 1966], p. 980 no. 1967 illus.), the eagle relief, which normally appears as a larger and more irregular composition beneath the bezel (see Elizabeth Feld and Stuart P. Feld, Of the Newest Fashion Masterpieces of American Neo-Classical Decorative Arts, exhib. cat. [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 2001], pp. 74-75 illus.), has now been trimmed to a rectangular shape and has been applied to the front of the base. Further, the figurative plaque titled CORNWALLIS RESIGNING HIS SWORD TO WASHINGTON has been inserted below the bezel, and the name of Isidore Grenot appears on the dial, also seen here only for the second time.