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Carriage Clock “Seahorses of Poseidon” with original Leather Case

Reiseuhr Reittiere des Poseidon

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Vienna, first quarter of the 19th century

Case
engine turned, matt and gloss fire-gilt bronze (ormolu), two fire-gilt seahorses (ormolu), original leather case
Dial
made of engine turned and fire-gilt bronze (ormolu), enamel dial ring
Movement
verge escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, turn-off for strike, alarm on wire gong
Height
8 ¼ in

In Greek and Roman mythology, the hippocampus or seahorse, a hybrid with a horse’s body and fishtail, served as a mount and draft animal for sea and water deities, above all Poseidon (Neptune). These mythical creatures are a symbol for extreme strength and speed; after all, they are said to have carried gods and nymphs across the surface of water at incredible speed. Seahorses were popular heraldic animals, representing cities and lineages with a maritime connection. As fountain sculptures (e.g., the Residence Fountain, Salzburg or the Trevi Fountain), these dynamic aquatic stallions exude the unbridled energy of the element of water. This courtly Viennese carriage clock from the early 19th century is decorated with two magnificent fire-gilt hippocampi. We had not come across these supporting figures in antique Viennese carriage clocks before, making this timepiece a particularly special collector’s item.

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