Artwork of the Week: February 6

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British, Pagoda Organ Clock. 1968.76A-B

British, movement attributed to James Cox (London) or possibly Joseph Beloudy, Pagoda Organ Clock. Gilt bronze clock on lacquered wood stand, about 1780. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1968.76A-B. H. with stand 40 in., Gallery 28A

From the late 16th to the late 18th centuries, European colonialism was expanding in the East. Europe became enamored of Chinese style, and a fashion known as chinoiserie permeated the decorative arts. This large pagoda clock is one of the most elaborate and charming timepieces made in England in chinoiserie style. The three tiers enclose a clock mechanism that is coupled to an automatic bellow organ. The central tier with the enameled dial at the front also has three doors on each side revealing painted Chinese land- and seascapes with mechanical moving parts. When the clock chimed every quarter hour, the ships in the tower “sailed” on the sea, and, in a curious mix of “oriental” influences, the organ played English pseudo-Arabic melodies.

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