Lot 28
  • 28

JEAN ROUSSEAU | SILVER MEMENTO MORI SKULL FORM WATCHCIRCA 1650

Estimate
10,000 - 15,000 GBP
Sold
62,500 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Théodore Rousseau
  • SILVER MEMENTO MORI SKULL FORM WATCHCIRCA 1650
Dial: silver, Roman chapter, foliate engraved centreMovement: gilt full plate verge, cut and pierced foliate engraved balance cock secured by a screw, flat steel balance, worm and wheel set up, fusée and gut lineCase: silver in the detailed form of a skullDimensions: 34mm width x 41mm length x 34mm height, dial 26mm diameter Signed: movementAccessories: none

Catalogue Note

Jean Rousseau (1606-1684) was an important and well known watchmaker and Master of the Clockmakers' Company of Geneva. He was particularly known for making form watches, such as the present and following lot in this sale. The sumptuary orders introduced by Calvin in the late 16th century expressly forbid the manufacture of crosses, chalices or other ‘idolatory’ instruments of worship. Some decades later, and perhaps even in reaction to this period saw a demand for form watches such as this. Although the human skull in miniature as a symbol of death had a long history dating back to the medieval period. This skull is cast with detailed indentations and engravings to the hinged outer and, as was often the case with these types of watches, also has subtle religious motifs on the dial.

With thanks to David Thompson for the help with this footnote

For a similar example see,  David Thompson, 'Watches at the British Museum, P.46

Close