An ormolu mantel clock with Queen Victoria in medieval dress, by Monroux, 1832 mainAn ormolu mantel clock with Queen Victoria in medieval dress, by Monroux, 1832 main

An ormolu mantel clock with Queen Victoria in medieval dress, by Monroux, 1832

£ 6,800.00






Height: 15¼ inches (38.5cm) Width: 13¼ inches (34cm) Depth: 5½ inches (13.5cm)

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This fine and unusual mantel clock is a rare model produced in France for the British market. The case incorporates a finely cast and chased figure of a lady in medieval dress, almost certainly Queen Victoria herself, based on the costumes worn at the Bal Costumé of 12th May 1832. The drapery and fringes are beautifully detailed with burnished edges, as is the Queen’s crown on a cushion on the floor by her feet. The shaped base of the clock incorporates the coat of arms of the British royal family with lion and unicorn supporters. The clock features silk suspension and a French drum movement, striking on a bell, and the dial is signed with the name of the prominent retailer Monroux of 221 Rue St Honoré, Paris. French, 1843.

The Bal Costumé of the 12th of May 1842. At first glance this clock may not appear to fit in with our theme ‘heroic endeavour’ but the story behind Queen Victoria’s costume is an inspiring one. Attended by some 2,000 guests, the Bal Costumé was a fancy dress party designed to re-invigorate the Spitalfields silk trade which had been coming under increasing pressure from imports, particularly those from France. All attendees were encouraged to use Spitalfields silk in their costumes and the theme was the medieval period, the King and Queen basing their costumes on the effigies of Queen Philippa of Hainault and King Edward III in Westminster Abbey, which were immortalised by Sir Edwin Landseer. So influential were the costumes worn on the night that the industry in London was saved amidst the plethora of new orders. Drawings from the original dresses by Coke Smyth were printed by J.R. Planche and later published by Colnaghi as a ‘Souvenir of the Bal Costumé’. Further designs for the costumes were included in the inaugural issue of the Illustrated London News. 

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