2-session Antique & Fine Arts Auction will be held at Fontaine's Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass

A Rare 18TH Century English-Made Pagoda Form Automaton Musical Clock Is Expected To Hit $800,000-$1.2 Million At Fontaines On Jan. 21ST

The 2-session Antique & Fine Arts Auction will be held at Fontaine's Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. An exceedingly rare 18th century English-made pagoda form automaton musical clock, produced for the Chinese Qing Imperial Court, is expected to soar to $800,000-$1.2 million at an Antique & Fine Arts Auction planned for Saturday, Jan. 21st, by Fontaines Auction Gallery, in the firms showroom at 1485 Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, at 10 am EST.

The clock is the expected top lot in a sale that will feature over 500 items, including a fine clock collection, watches, music boxes, Tiffany lighting, exceptional furniture, oil paintings, bronzes, estate jewelry, fine silver and accessories. Internet bidding will be provided by Invaluable.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and the Fontaines Auction Gallery website, www.FontainesAuction.com.

The clock is magnificent: 50 inches tall (raised, on a large black wood block base) and weighing 100 pounds. It has an engraved chessboard pattern brass top, with 5-inch painted metal dials on the front and both sides and Roman hour numerals. The time movement triggers the automaton mechanism once every two hours, and the heavy bronze case has elegant color paste set jewels.

The case form is based on the Porcelain Pagoda of Nanjing (or the Temple of Repaid Gratitude), built in the 15th century, during the Chinese Ming dynasty. It was mostly destroyed in the 19th century, during the Taiping Rebellion, but with nine stories and a staircase in the middle, it was one of the tallest buildings in China and often called one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

As beautiful as the clock is physically, it is equally enchanting musically. It plays two different tunes on a nest of eight bells, including the old Chinese folk song Mo Li Hau, which has been popular since the 17th century, in China and elsewhere. The pagoda animates every two hours, corresponding to the 12-hour Chinese time system. The music also plays every two hours.

In addition, E. Howard & Co. (Boston) clocks, popular with collectors, are a staple at most Fontaines clock auctions, and this sale has several, to include a No. 61 floor regulator with the original signed 14-inch painted dial, 96 inches tall, estimated at $60,000-$80,000; and a floor standing regulator, signed & dated 1891, with gravity escapement by H. Conant. It should sell for $20,000-$30,000.

Visually arresting French clocks will include an industrial clock with a gilt brass case in the form of a vertical steam boiler, with moving parts animated by a spring-driven mechanism, expected to hit $20,000-$25,000; and a silk thread bronze mantle clock by Jacques Dubuc, with a bronze case depicting a scene from the 1806 ballet titled Le Volage Fixe, estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Tops in the fine art category are a mixed media abstract composition drawing on paper by Fernand Leger (1881-1955), monogrammed and signed F.L. lower right, with an estimate of $25,000-$40,000; and a pencil drawing on paper of a nude woman lying down with a bare breast and dark hair, ink-stamped Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004), expected to reach $20,000-$30,000.

Fine decorative accessories will feature a set of three silver mounted quartz covered urns – one large round and two egg-shaped carved clear crystal bowls that are being sold as one lot with an estimate of $20,000-$30,000; and a rare Grueby George Kendrick-designed heavy matte green vase, 12 inches tall, with a 9-leaf carved design around the body, estimated at $12,000-$15,000.

Asian lots will be led by a large-size Da Qing Qianlong faux red lacquer porcelain vase, 19 inches tall, bulbous form, with gilt decorated chop seal characters and eight hound dogs, that should make $10,000-$15,000; and a large room-size Persian rug designed in four panels with birds and filigree, impressive at 159 inches by 255 inches and estimated to hit $4,000-$6,000.

It wouldnt be a Fontaines auction without something from the Tiffany Studios. Offered will be a large Tiffany art glass oil lamp, 35 inches tall, with an 11-inch diameter unsigned leaded green and opalescent swirl chunk jeweled glass globe, expected to fetch $12,000-$15,000; and a flower holder desk lamp with a signed, decorated pine needle gilt shade, estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

Two very attractive table lamps carry identical estimates of $6,000-$8,000. One is a three-color Pairpoint Puffy Rose table lamp with a 10-inch diameter reverse painted puffy shade with colorful roses on a green leafy background. The other is a 20-inch Duffner & Kimberly Water Lily table lamp having a geometric aqua blue staggered brick background with rows of lily pads.

Furniture will include an 11-piece walnut Renaissance Revival bedroom suite with massive book matched burled walnut bow front panels on the bed, with large turned and carved columns, with an estimate of $8,000-$12,000; and a John H. Belter pierce carved rosewood marble-top tagre, 87 inches tall with a serpentine form and filigree carved crest, expected to garner $6,000-$8,000.

Two silver lots have the same $3,000-$5,000 estimate. The first is a beautiful Russian repousse and hand-chased stein, 8 – inches tall and weighing 33.7 troy silver ounces, conical in form with beaded and geometric borders and relief medallions. The second is a Gorham Athenic Art Nouveau hand-chased repousse pitcher with flowers and wavy filigree, 45.79 troy silver ounces.

Previews will be held on Friday, Jan. 20, from 10-5, and on Saturday, Jan. 21, auction day, from 8 a.m. until the first gavel falls at 10 a.m. See the website for terms and conditions, plus info on how to register to bid: www.FontainesAuction.com. Phone and absentee bids will be accepted.
Fontaines Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality items, to include furniture, lighting, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items for future sales. Consignments are currently being accepted for all the upcoming auctions.

The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment fine antiques, collections or entire estates. Call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or you can send Mr. Fontaine an e-mail to [email protected]. For more information about the company and the upcoming Saturday, Jan. 21st auction, please visit www.FontainesAuction.com. Updates are posted often.

Fontaine's Auction Gallery.

Pittsfield, MA, US
Fontaine’s enjoys a national reputation for strong, sometimes record-setting prices for a wide range of quality antiques and fine art. Perhaps we can achieve something for you. Our areas of particular strength are: Lighting by Tiffany, Pairpoint, Handel, Duffner & Kimberly, others; 19th century/historic lighting; Arts & Crafts furniture/ accessories by Gustav Stickley, L&JG Stickley, Stickley Brothers, Roycroft, Limbert, others; 19th century furniture by John Belter, J&JW Meeks, RJ Horner, Hunzinger, Alexander Roux, others; period Empire, Early American, other antique furniture; carved oak turn-of-the-century, custom mahogany furniture; Fine Art by listed artists; silver, Oriental rugs, bronzes, porcelains, accessories; unique or monumental objects.