Lot 9
  • 9

James Vautrollier

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
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  • silver and gilt metal
  • length including pendant 49mm x 25m
• gilt brass octagonal full plate movement with decoratively engraved border, verge escapement, decoratively pierced and floral engraved pinned-on cock, flat steel balance, ratchet and click set-up, fuse and gut line, round baluster pillars • gilt metal dial plate, the centre with engraved townscape scene with mountains in the background, the edge with engraved floral border and an angel's head above 12 o'clock, applied silvered chapter ring with Roman numerals, blued steel hand • centre of the hinged front cover with engraved figure of Chronos with hourglass in front of an advancing crowd, the facets to the inside with engraved floral wreath, the hinged back cover depicting Pluto carrying Prosperine away, inside back cover plain, the band with panels arranged in pairs and within foliage, each with a dolphin, accompanied by an owl, a hare and a bird and two reclining figures to the central side panels, decorative pendant and finial to base of case • movement signed Ja. Vautrollier Fecit


The Percy Webster Collection, Sotheby's London, May 1954, lot 17


T.P. & T. A. Camerer Cuss, The Camerer Cuss Book of Antique Watches, pp. 60-61 pl. 12

Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970, pp. 40-41 pl. 15

Catalogue Note

The central panel of the case depicts Chronos (Father Time) progressing across the sky holding his hourglass in front of an advancing crowd, one with a crutch - a solemn reminder that Time waits for no man. The surrounding panels are engraved in pairs and a dolphin accompanied by an owl, a hare and a bird reside within foliage, each allegories of Wisdom, Salvation and the Soul respectively. The darker side of the main theme is, appropriately, on the silver back cover: Pluto - more properly named Hades - is seen carrying off a reluctant Prosperine to his lower kingdom. The scenes are also linked because Chronos, the Greek personification of Time, was derived from Cronus; not only was Cronus, god of agriculture, the father of Hades, he was also the father of Demeter (Ceres, goddess of agriculture), who was closely associated in both myth and cult to her daughter Persephone (Prosperine). The surrounding panels are the same as those on the front and the silver band is engraved with foliage and recumbent nudes.

James Vautrollier was active between 1622 and 1641. He was one of the 1622 petitioners of the Clockmakers' Company Charter and he became a court assistant when the Charter was granted in 1631. He was made a Freeman of the Clockmakers' Company in 1632. Examples of watches by James Vautrollier can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.