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Clock, Albatross

Decorative Arts

This clock features decorative tiles from J. & J. G. Low Art Tile Works, the preeminent maker of art tiles in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Most of their tiles were made for architectural use as wall decoration, but they also incorporated tiles into freestanding objects such as this or placed them in elaborate metal frames as independent works of art.

The clock’s design matches that seen in the patent drawing illustrated here, indicating that the clock is an early example. A number of later variations in the color and design of the ceramic elements are known, some by other clock makers.
MEDIUM Brass and glazed earthenware tiles
DATES Patented January 5, 1886
DIMENSIONS 12 1/4 x 9 x 5 1/4 in. (31.1 x 22.9 x 13.3 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Impressed on back of side tiles: J. & J.G. LOW / PAT / ART TILE WORKS / CHELSEA / MASS. U.S.A. / COPYRIGHT 1884 / by J.G. & J.E. LOW
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE H. Randolph Lever Fund
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CAPTION New Haven Clock Company (working ca. 1853-1956). Clock, Albatross, Patented January 5, 1886. Brass and glazed earthenware tiles, 12 1/4 x 9 x 5 1/4 in. (31.1 x 22.9 x 13.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 88.23. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 88.23_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Clock with rectangular frame ornamented with cast Chinese cloud motifs sits on attached brass fretwork base. Front and side panels of clock set with glazed earthenware tiles in dark blue with molded decoration of bees, leaves and vine, asymmetrically arranged. Face of clock, inset into front tile, is flanked by brass diamond lozenges and has a circular cover of beveled glass, framed in brass. Inside cover clock face is surrounded by brass border of modified egg-and-dart motif. Arabic numerals painted in black on face; center of face recessed and exposes part of mechanism. Top of clock has rectangular tile cushion panel of dark blue with stylized cloud motif set in brass fretwork frame. Rear of clock has circular opening exposing works; this opening is surrounded by brass border with cloud motifs flanked by diamond lozenges. CONDITION: Working order but some oxidation to works. Especially chime coil. Two hairline cracks to face, through 6 and between 9/10. X-shaped scratch, upper right of front tile. Normal wear.
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Clock, Albatross