A Dutch eighteenth century longcase clock

New gift To the Foundation from the Estate of Carol M. DuBois, Oyster Bay Cove.
A Dutch eighteenth century longcase clock

Longcase clocks were first invented in England about 1670 using the new anchor escarpment mechanism with a long, weight driven pendulum, hence the tall thin shape of the clock's casing. Until the early 20th century longcase clocks were the world's most accurate time keeping technology.
 
The carved and gilded figures on the top of this newly donated clock represent Atlas and two Victories. Atlas is shown carrying a celestial globe because in Greek mythology he held up the celestial spheres. The earliest method of telling the time was to observe the changing shadows cast by the sun, hence the traditional association with Atlas and time.
 
The clock also features the winged figures of Victory (or in Greek mythology, Nike), and they originally held trumpets, which are now lost (they will be replaced with replicas). In Greek mythology these figures are recorded as flying from the skies onto the prows of victorious ships, as in the great marble sculpture of the Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre. The trumpets refer to the concept of announcing and celebrating victory with music and may also have referred to the chimes in the clock. Victory is also the god of speed which is usually measured by reference to time.
 
The Victories, with their illusion of flight, are typical of sculpture in the baroque style and the bombe shape of the clock's base is distinctive of seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch furniture. This type of clock remained in demand for well over one hundred years and was revived in the nineteenth century. Some are less elaborate than others, and some are gilded all over! This version, which is over nine and a half feet tall, looks very handsome in the mansion's front hall.

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