Oeil de Boeuf Wall Clock
This 19th-century French piece is a beautiful example of a tôle peinte (painted tin) clock, a well-established clockmaking method of this period. This particular clock features beautiful and delicately hand painted flowers in warm hues of yellows, oranges, and browns interspersed with abstract shapes in blue – colours which complement the richness of the wood-like background. The design of the work, known as oeil de boeuf – or “eye of the cow” in English – refers to the viewer only being able to see the dial. This is not to be confused with the oeil de boeuf windows, typically seen in the upper stories of French architecture. The detailed hands of the dial are formed of graceful c-scrolls and sinuous lines, pointing to precisely painted roman numerals. The dial is seated in a small octagonal component, with pronounced curves and pointed tips, which is supported by a larger octagonal base with softer lines. Clockmaking – in its technical and aesthetic aspects – had been important to French court life since at least the 1600s and domestic clocks became popular household items in the 19th century. This lovely clock could serve as a timekeeper in your home, and it would also be a fascinating reminder of French cultural and technological advancements of days gone by! The tip of the hour hand appears to have broken off.
At this time in Paris, construction on the foundation of the Eiffel Tower began in 1889. Named after the engineer whose company designed the tower, Gustave Eiffel (1832–1923), this wrought-iron structure would take three years to build, opening to the public as the centrepiece for the 1889 World’s Fair. An engineering marvel, the Eiffel Tower measures the same height as an 81-storey building, and held the title of tallest man-made structure in the world until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930. The Eiffel Tower was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, and is currently the most visited monument with an entrance fee in the world.